The makings of a mom

2011-12-15 00:00

“WHAT are those bluey-purple, sticky-out, squishy lines on your legs, Mom?”

I had been wondering whether my newly acquired varicose veins were noticeable to anyone but me.

“Those, Joah,” I explained to my six-year-old son, “are called varicose veins. And sometimes when you are a mom and sometimes when you are getting a bit older, they start appearing on your legs. It’s all part of life.”

Joah was not disgusted or concerned, he was just building a mental picture of what a mom should look like, and he didn’t realise it consisted of purply, squishy leg lines.

In fact, recently Joah had been consistently building pictures of what people should look like, and he had come to the insightful opinion that not everyone should fit the magazine model mode.

“Josh is not too large,” I heard him explaining to his sisters when they questioned why his friend was so big. “He wants to be a professional wrestler, and wrestlers have to eat a lot.” Well, that was a good point, a soccer player shouldn’t look the same as a wrestler.

And when we read a book on Ella Fitzgerald and Lael noticed that she got chubbier as she got older, Joah observed: “I don’t think she is chubby, I think she is just right for a singer.”

I, however, although I had been putting on a brave face, was still coming to terms with not being able to wear shorts anymore. Those glossy magazine girls didn’t stay glossy forever even Brigitte Bardot is on crutches.

“But you know what Homer said,” my husband, Sam, reminded me. “In youth and beauty, wisdom is but rare.” So was that what Joah was trying to teach me? I may be losing my youth and beauty but with those squishy purple lines was coming wisdom and that was just right, just how a mom should look — not the same as a wrestler, not the same as a singer, but just right for a mom.

A few days later, Joah made another observation. “Mom,” he said, after studying my profile from the kitchen table. “You have a hump at the front and a hump at the back.”

He wasn’t being unkind, just observant. Humps at back and front are just right for moms. But his insights were ahead of his time.

“We probably need to work with him on his powers of description,” Sam and I agreed later. “You know if he wants one day to be a bit more winsome with girls.”

Not many women enjoy being described as an inverted camel.

• Sarah Groves is a freelance writer living in Pietermaritzburg.

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