Welcome to my less than perfect life!

Embracing the imperfections that make my life practically perfect in every way.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Ugly/Beauty


Stepping from the steaming shower in the pre-dawn hours, I stand dripping for a moment before I wipe my bleary eyes, towel off my hair, dry my body.  Most times, I don’t even look at the reflection in the mirror across the room.  Autopilot is in effect.  I dry, I comb, I brush and style, I stumble out the door to work.

Some mornings, though, I stop.  Take inventory.  Survey the scene.  I notice the sagging breasts of motherhood.  The puckering stomach.  I notice the fragile, wrinkled eyes growing older day by day.  I’m still there, but different now.  Stronger and more fragile all at once.

Inevitably on these days my fingers wander to the scar that stretches across my abdomen.  I remember that the nurse in the hospital called it my smile.  “How’s your smile feeling?” she had asked.  I touch it, still reddened and angry from the hot water.  I feel along the full length of it.  I notice the “teeth marks”, the places where the staples that put me back together made their own scars.  I marvel that two babies slipped from their wombs into the world from this very place.

Remembering their tiny bodies, my heart lurches.  One of these babies rests in her crib, no longer a baby but a girl.  A two year old girl.  I imagine her breathing heavily beneath her blanket, dark hair tumbling around her face, clutching her Piglet in her arms for safety.  I will be gone before she awakens today.  I will miss her early morning chatter.

My throat still catches three years later as I think about my baby boy.  How tiny.  How beautiful he was.  My mind tries to make things right again and again, but nothing about losing a child can ever make sense.  This smiling scar, one of my only reminders that he was here.  That he was real.  His peach fuzz body and his high forehead and his tiny, tiny hands.

I have thought a lot about it, about how precious this scar is to me.  I have heard that some women choose to reconstruct their sagging tummies and that the scar can be removed.  I never want to lose mine.  My scar is my reminder that it’s true.  My babies are true.  I know that many women don’t wear this scar.  This is only how I had my babies; others know a different truth.  But this scar - this scar is mine.  My ugly, toothy smile.  The most beautiful thing about me.

17 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, this is a sensational piece of writing.

    Heart-wrenching, raw and real.

    I also have a 'smile' - I think about how I'd be happier without it but then, I still have the child that was pulled from this place.

    I can't imagine. And I am sorry.

    Your scar is most definitely a thing of beauty.

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  2. Oh, this is so beautiful. I work so hard to see my body, my mother-of-four body as beautiful.

    Your words touched me deeply.

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  3. I loved this, it was full of all the things we feel as mommies, wow...so powerful.

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  4. I agree with the other commenters. Your smile is beautiful. Lovely piece.

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  5. If I could wrap you up in a gigantic hug right now I would:) I admire your courage in writing this-and yes-that scar is beautiful.

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  6. Oh honey. How gorgeous. How sad. I loved this post. Thank you for writing it. Truly.

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  7. Powerful. I love that you call it your smile and all the meanings it has for you. A beautiful sentiment. Lovely.

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  8. So poignant. The way you wrapped it up just warmed my heart. Everything is in the eye of the beholder, right? :)

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  9. I loved this! No one ever called my scar a smile, but the without it my babies wouldn't have made it into the world!

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  10. This brought a lump to my throat. So beautifully written.

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  11. You brought tears to my eyes and a new perspective of my own scar. What a beautiful way of looking at it.

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  12. This is a very powerful piece of writing...so many important topics covered here, tragic loss, body image, mother love...I loved reading this. Made me cry.

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  13. Nicely done! I have a scar for both my sons from many many years ago. The scars are only pretty to me, but they're mine and that is all that counts. I see the beauty. And the smile.

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  14. Thank you all for your comments on this piece. I really appreciate you reading it and sharing your thoughts and stories with me!

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  15. What a beautiful piece, and never a more beautiful scar than your toothy smile.

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  16. I was so struck by the beauty of this sentence...
    Stronger and more fragile all at once.

    Then when I got to the part about your loss of your little boy my emotions just welled up inside. Stronger and more fragile to say the least.

    The courage and loveliness of this post is beyond measure. I wish you peace.

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  17. @May-thank your for the kind words and for sharing my story.

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