Last week, I stood in my mom’s kitchen, the same kitchen in which I learned to eat solid foods and the same kitchen in which I ate my last dinner before heading off to college. There, in that familiar place, she measured me: hips, bust and waist. I needed those stats so I could place an order with Chicago’s House of Brides for the ninth bridesmaid dress I will be fortunate to wear in this lifetime as I stand up in a dear friend’s wedding next winter.
I laughed to myself as my mom wrapped the measuring tape around my chest — things there aren’t quite as they used to be pre the nursing of two babies. I sucked in when she then wrapped the measuring tape around my mid-section, thinking if it would even be possible for anyone’s waist to measure in at eighteen and a half inches as did Scarlett O’Hara’s in the best book ever written and the best movie ever made, “Gone with the Wind” (tied only of course with “The Sound of Music”).
During this few seconds when I felt the fabric of my mom’s measuring tape laying flush against my skin, I caught a glimpse of the familiar line that runs from mid-belly down to well below my belly button. Technically speaking that “line” is known as the linea negra and it shows up on the mid-section of three quarters of pregnant women. I’m in the three quarters.
This is one of the several battle wounds present on my body that weren’t there the last time I was measured for a bridesmaid dress more than five years ago. That was before I was a mom. My life is so different in so many ways since having children that I feel era delineations of Before Kids (BK) and After Kids (AK) are entirely appropriate.
My linea negra has faded, but not gone away. According to my doctor, it might never. I thought about this as I drove home from mom’s with my measurements in hand. And then, as if God was winking at me, Brandi Carlile’s “The Story” came on the radio. The first four lines were shouting out at me.
“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am.”
My body does indeed tell a story. My freakishly tall frame? Inherited from generations of tall Goetz men hailing from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My slightly deformed right baby toe? The result of an unfortunate run-in with a shopping cart at Meijer about 15 years ago. That line on my belly? The result of baking two buns for nine months each and crossing over into life AK.
One word of caution to all those soon to join the ranks of life AK, though you won’t be able to see it, your heart will no longer be inside your body (though no line will be present on your chest indicating such). It’s scooting, toddling and sprinting around outside of it. Get ready.
And any lines on your face BK? About to get much deeper. Enjoy the smiles, furrowed brows and tears of joy that will have earned real estate on your face. They’re absolutely worth it!