This weekend, we took a road trip to Wisconsin Dells to visit the Kalahari Resort. It is a sprawling indoor water park, located about three and a half hours from Chicago.
I stood in line for one of the towering water slides with Maddie at my side, while Katie played and splashed in the toddler area with my husband. As we waited, I remembered another visit to the Kalahari Resort, ten plus years ago. I vacationed there with a big group of people, including my sister and her family. I spent most of that visit waiting in lines with my teenage niece and her friends. I remembered how self-conscious I felt on that trip, standing next to my young niece and her young friends, decades younger than myself. Their bodies were not yet showing the slowing metabolism and other signs of age as my own betraying body. I remembered laughing and joking with them, all the while trying to hide my discomfort and insecurity. Wishing I had worn a different swimsuit, wishing I hadn’t eaten that cheeseburger last night, wishing I looked like them.
I shook my head to clear the memory as I felt a tug on my arm. “We’re next, Mommy,” Maddie grinned, her hair dripping wet. I smiled to myself. Oh, what I wouldn’t give now for that body I so desperately hated back then! My thighs are bigger, my stomach is rounder, and things are saggier than I ever knew they could be. With all those changes to my body, though, came some wisdom. Looking down at Maddie and spying Katie down below, I know I have more beauty in my life than I ever imagined I would.