Thursday, August 27, 2009

Svelte Mommy

My good friend Jodi has been walking me through this whole process on the phone for months. She is a friend from Newton. We met when I was 5 months pregnant with Natasha. I had just been laid off from my high-tech Internet job and was still very much in the working-girl mindset. She was pushing her two little kids in a double-stroller and I looked at her thinking, "How could that possibly be my life?" Then she went back to work and I was home with the refluxy babies. At any rate when I moved from Newton Alex was just 8 months old. So she never saw me particularly thin.

I should also add that Jodi is the ultimate svelte mommy. She exercises every morning at 5am for an hour at least. She is in great shape but works at it and dresses well but is not overly concerned with her clothes. I've known this habit of hers for a long time and had always kind of thought that I could never be that disciplined or even interested in exercise. She is still harder core than me, getting up in the dark freezing Boston winter mornings to run for an hour. I would never do that! It'll be me and Jackie in the basement this winter for sure. One time we stayed with Jodi for several days for a wedding. She got up and left the house to exercise just like normal while we were staying there - not worrying about getting us coffee or whatever, as well she shouldn't have. It made me think. If exercise is really that important to you you find a way to get it done pretty much no matter what. As I worked to change my mindset about food, diet and exercise, I would often think back to that weekend and her commitment to working out. It helped me change the way I feel about prioritizing exercise as something vital I do for myself. All my mommy friends in Newton could be described as svelte mommies. I even did that once. "I'm surprised that you are surprised your husband likes your athletic body. You're so....svelte." is what I said. She was so thrilled for days that I said that. I never thought I would be athletic or svelte. I was in a different group. Not a horrible group but a different one.

OK - back to the story. When we saw each other for the first time on Tuesday I walked down the stairs and was kind of taken aback because she was already in the house. I felt badly that I didn't greet her at the door, just on a hostess level. So that was going through my mind and I forgot that I look different, etc. So there we were staring at each other. Each of us kind of stammering. She, who is one of the biggest funniest talkers going, was completely speechless. I mean for like 3 minutes. And I just forgot that I look so different and was wondering where all the kids were and what was going on and it was weird that we didn't hug. But she was too busy staring at me. It was such a great visceral reaction. She kept looking at me and saying, in that tone of wonderment I hear so often lately, "You look like a completely different person." It's funny as it's not so much a compliment as just an expression of shock. Many people have reacted this exact way, including Dave. It's usually in the middle of a completely different conversation too. I'm kind of used to it now.

The next day I saw my long-time friends Mark and Jeanne, whom I know from Cummaquid. These are some fantastic people. Science professors at a small college in Maine who renovated an old house on Peaks Island, run an Oyster Farm and are the most physically active and fit people going. Tall and blonde and muscley and smart and down to earth.

Anyway, the funniest thing happened. Down at the beach they were taking their evening family swim (all together of course, with the little girl in just a life vest and bare tush) and Mark came out of the water and asked something like, "Do you feel differently?"
I actually didn't know what he was talking about because it was so out of context and he had just come out of the water. But this is someone I've known my whole life and haven't seen in 6 years so I look pretty different. I just forget that.

So he clarified and said, "I mean, you know, now that you're so..." he paused and gestured with his hands, searching for the right word, "svelte," he continued, "are you finding it makes you feel differently about other things?"

I started laughing and he got a little embarassed about his word choice. This is not a person who I would think would use that word - he's a bioscience professor-fisherman-yoga expert-home renovator kayaker, etc. When we are on the beach he endearingly points out natural scientific phenomena brought on by combinations of tidal currents and moon phases. I picture my aunt on Long Island scooping out a bagel and replacing the dough with tuna and commenting that 'her neighbor looks so svelte lately'. I thought the word had Yiddish origins, but actually it's French. But that's the adjective that came to mind. And so I explained about the blog. It was such a crazy coincidence and that's what made me laugh. But upon reflection it's really the most perfect compliment I could have gotten - aside from Jodi's speechlessness. When I named my blog 'sveltemommy' it was with the deepest sense of irony. I never in my wildest dreams believed that I would ever be a svelte mommy.

You can see a video at Peaks Island Seafood on Facebook. Mark is the taller blonder person.

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