Welcome to Guest Post Month at the MOB Society! Today’s post comes from our newest MOB Society team writer, Emily Wierenga, author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. Please welcome her!
He’ll be four in November, my Aiden, my miracle child whom doctors said I wouldn’t have, because of the anorexia.
He’s standing at the far end of the swimming pool shivering in his camouflage shorts with the orange string, and the teacher’s in the pool, the kids lining up on the diving board to jump in and him just standing there, watching them.
He doesn’t move. The boys and girls jump once, then twice, and the teacher is talking to him. He’s jumped before–last week, in fact–but not anymore. He’s shaking his head and the teacher’s moving on, and I stand and begin to make my way over because my baby needs me.
I don’t want to be one of those moms that’s always standing up for her kid but when your gut moves, you go, and I do, in my bare feet down the side of the pool and I touch the teacher’s arm. She’s a young girl with glasses. I ask if I can talk to him and she nods.
And then I bend down to look Aiden in the eyes and they’re brown today, like his father’s. Sometimes they’re green like mine, and I say, “Honey, why don’t you want to jump?”
He shakes his head, looks sad at the floor. “I’m scared.”
I dig deep for something wise. “Mommy believes in you. And if you try, we’ll go and get ice cream after.”
When in doubt, bribe.
He jumps off that diving board, his little knees knocking, and I clap until my hands hurt.
And then we get his report card because it’s the final class and I’m opening it to show him, and reading silently that my son has tried very hard, and that she’s proud of his efforts, but that the teacher would encourage him to re-enroll. He has failed Sea Otters.
“I’m so, so proud of you honey,” as we walk towards the showers.
I wasn’t ready for this. For teaching my son how to fail with grace, and I know it’s important for kids to work hard and to know that sometimes they won’t pass, and I’m all for him getting character.
But not yet. Because to me, Aiden hasn’t failed. He tried something new. He listened to the teacher like I asked him to, when the other kids were goofing off and him, the only one obeying; he was always the last to swim the length of the pool, yes, but his little legs and arms never stopped moving, his face brave and determined and I praised him the whole way to the ice cream shop, and the whole way home, because to me, he is a success.
He’s got plenty of time to learn that the world is not near so encouraging as mom, but for now, I frame his report card while he’s sleeping, prop it up for when he wakes.
And the next morning I find him holding the frame, glowing.
Today, Emily has generously agreed to give away a copy of her book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy to one MOB Society reader! To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below (and don’t miss the free printable we have for you at the end of this post!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Emily Wierenga is wife to a math-teacher husband; mother and foster mother to four boys; an artist, columnist and the author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter orFacebook.
This month we want to thank you, our faithful readers, for sticking by us as we rebuilt our site from scratch. In addition to giveaways, we are also happy to offer you free printables from Franchesa Cox of Small Bird Studios! Today’s printable is a beautiful reminder of the power of loving life. Enjoy and thank you for your support!