The {Refreshing} Aura of the Unapologetic Woman.

I am without a phone, as my little out-of-date Apple device had suffered a spider-web crack on it's face months ago and is now undergoing surgery. Please let me state it again. I am without a line or cellular (is that even a word anymore?). My husband set up Skype on the computer for me before he left on a business trip, which I am sure will come in real handy. Upon hearing an intruder, I am sure my fingers would deftly scramble for the computer, start it up, enter my password, enter the Skype password and then not so subtly tip off the intruders with the loud AOL-dial tone-esque calling tone, sending the thieves scampering in forewarned fear. And should I find myself stuck alongside the road with my five children in our illustrious minivan, he has supplied me with an ample possession of emergency flares. It's just like the old days, or so The Manly Provider (of whose work plan I am on) has told me with no small measure of delight in his voice. I fully expected him to inform me he has a carrier pigeon on mail order to be delivered while he's gone should I need to reach him. We are so different, which is why I fell in love with him in the first place and why, even as it can often makes me roll my eyes or huff and puff as I get up on my soapboxes of personal preferences, I love him even more for it now. He's a good man. We learn to siphon the elements of what was the fuel of our early love, to keep the middle years burning cleanly and clearly, for otherwise, in the right environment of selfish ambition and preferences, it could turn combustible. 

All that to say, I am without a phone as it is being repaired,  my husband isn't terribly concerned but has provided in his way and now I am reaching out to the world via The Coffee Cottage because I am in need of a form of communicating with the outside world.


Forgive me. I am boring you with musing on my  lack of communication devices, which is hardly a big deal, nor the reason I logged on to my online therapy session. Rather, I came to share one simple insight I had whilst at Costco Wholesale today. After my son and daughter deposited most of their birthday money in the bank, I took the fab five to Costco, as it was close to lunch and I am a suck for a good hot dog and no where is there better hot dogs (with deli mustard and relish) than the cavernous warehouse of which I am a card-carrying member. Besides, no one expects fine-dining manners when the seating options are vinyl picnic table and a large cart can shield the members enjoying their 1.00 slice of pizza on it. 

We swerved the cart next to a table next to another family enjoying good food on the cheap. The woman had four young children who were talking to her about Legoland the way elderly people of Faith discuss Heaven. She was actually listening to the glorified descriptions of blocks and on-site lodging but what really captured my interest was her youngest, a boy of MAYBE two years of age. He had on a red t-shirt, red rain boots...and a diaper. That's it. I turned around and complimented him on his boots as it was apparent he delighted in them. She smiled and said "Thanks!". She asked if my children were all mine, I claimed them all as they all were quietly digesting the twenty pounds of melted cheese and she said she had actually never ate here with her children, that they weren't planning to stop in but decided to as they passed by. She asked me our children's ages, wished me a great summer and took her crew with their heavy-laden cart out of the store.

But she never once in our brief conversation made even the merest, laughing apology for her little guy in diapers-and-boots. 

I found this so entirely refreshing. Mostly because had it been me, I would have had to verbally fill in the gap (namely, shorts) she didn't even blink at. Even now, when we head into a store and my children are dressed in tacky character t-shirts and mismatched shorts with dirt under their fingernails from their morning's play, I hope that I see no one or at the least, no one with a brood sporting Gymboree-coordinated outfits with matching hair bows and socks with sneakers. Or if I go somewhere, anywhere, looking like I look without the help of a good shower and makeup, I am quick to make a joking reference to my appearance. Even after all the mountains of comparison I considered conquered, I still fight the instinct to apologize for my children's appearance (or whatever I feel is obviously lacking) even if is a consistent part of our real life. 

This is not to say I think we should all let our children of any age go around half-dressed. 

This is not about clothing (or lack thereof) at all. Nor do I feel any disparaging of the woman who's children look fresh from the pages of Heart Strings at any hour of the day. Good for them!

Rather, today at the food court in Costco, I was reminded of the unique and refreshing aura of a woman that lets life at the moment be what it is and refuses to participate in needless and pride-prompted apologies.

I was reminded how in making apology/excuses/embarrassed references to what we find imperfect in ourselves or our children is a form of self-centeredness and puts far more focus on ourselves than the person we are explaining ourselves to...and in participating in it can create a distance that need not be. (Not to mention how it makes our children feel, but that's another post)

Even brief interactions with strangers can have impact, and if we spend the few moments we are given making excuses, we have no time to give encouragement. 

We are who we are, and we are imperfect. We should be  thankful for what really matters, which is far deeper than the eye (or a missing iphone) can see. Sometimes, we forget what we know to be true and tucked in the errands of the everyday, a reminder is found in the unapologetic living of another women. 



debi said…
Fabulous Post!!!!!!!

Anonymous said…
Oh my yes. I find it so refreshing when I go to someone's home and find socks on the floor and no flurry of explanations to excuse their presence. It's a spiritual discipline, I think, to think less about our image and how others see us. Bravo to the mama with the booted diaper boy, and bravo to you for a well-written piece!
Kathy said…
What a refreshing revelation. I'm determined to do better at this myself.

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