Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ode to my 40 year old body, on its birthday

To my hands
You've been ever so faithful, all of these years. You've soothed the brows of feverish children, you've washed alot of dishes, and scrubbed alot of floors. You've carried burdens, and gotten dirt under your finger nails. You've proudly worn your wedding ring for nearly 13 years. You don't look so young any more - you look well used. It's the way you should look at 40. You've written alot of stories, with pen or keyboard. You may not be the originator of thoughts, but you've put them to paper many, many times.

To my feet, my lovely little feet
I've always loved you, my little ones. You've carried me so many places. You've climbed mountains and held me up on waterskis. You've run to catch airplanes and trains. You were always my pride and joy. I particularly loved the way you often fit into bargain bin shoes that most people couldn't squeeze into. You've let me down a little lately, though - made me buy orthotics and expensive shoes. I guess you're making up for all the money you saved me. But maybe I let you down by not taking enough care of you in my youth - by squeezing you into shoes that were too narrow. I put you to the test early on already - forcing you to walk more than 20 miles in the walk-a-thon when you were only six. Thanks for putting up with my need to wander.

To my eyes
Ah, my lovely eyes. I've always been happy that you were blue, and that you were steady and strong, never needing glasses (yet). You've seen alot of things these 40 years. You've stopped me in my tracks so that I wouldn't miss the beauty of a rainbow or a shimmering butterfly. You've cried alot of tears - tears of sadness, pain, joy, frustration, and shame. You've kept watch over our children and helped protect them from danger. You are faithful and true, my lovely blue eyes.

To my breasts
I'll be frank, my dear breasts - I've never been particularly fond of you. You're too big, too floppy, and you sag nearly to my waist. I've never been able to squeeze you into department store bras. You made me go to specialty stores to buy genuine over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders. You've caused permanent indentations in my shoulders because of your wieght. You are a burden. Ah, but perhaps I've been unfair, dear old things. You've patiently suckled three babies and provided plenty of milk to keep them healthy and happy. You were faithful and true, even when you ached or the nurses said your nipples were too flat to properly feed a baby. (Boy, did YOU prove them wrong!) You've carried the pain of unused milk when our little Matthew died. You've been steadfast and reliable, and I thank you for that, dear old breasts.

To the little crease between my eyebrows
I'm not quite sure what I think of you, little crease. You're one of the latest additions to this 40 year old body. You look a lot like a worry line, and I was sure I'd have laugh lines before I'd get worry lines. I'm a little surprised at you, permanently embedding yourself into the architecture of my face. But perhaps I should be proud of you. Perhaps I should wear you with pride. You show the pain I've lived through - pain of loss, of death, of heartache. You carry my worries and proclaim to the world that I have survived. I won't botox you away, little crease. You give me depth and paint wisdom on my face.

To my mouth
Ah, dear mouth, we've had alot of fun together, you and I. We've eaten much, talked much, and laughed much. You've comforted children with soothing tones. You've spoken to crowds and offered advice to lots of people. You've smiled at your husband and offered him kisses and encouragement. You never figured out how to sing well, but I forgive you for that. You've given me contentment as I offered you delicious food. Sometimes we got a little carried away, you and I, and didn't know when enough was enough. But we're still learning, even after 40 years of trying to get it right. You are good to me, dear mouth.

To my body
We've lived through 40 years together, dear body of mine. I admit, I haven't always been fair to you. I forced you to carry too much weight, and then berated you for being heavy. I'm sorry for that. I'll try to do better in the next 40 years. But it's been good, hasn't it, dear body? We've seen alot of interesting places, carried babies - both inside and out, worked hard, played well, rested now and then, and found contentment. We've found ways to indulge our passions, satisfy our curiosity, please our friends, and live a good life. Here's to the next 40 years together. May they be as good as the last 40 have been.


Michele said...

i want a copy of that last photo. (i like the breast one, too, but i really prefer the whole package :)

Anonymous said...

well isn't that a quirky wee post :)

Janet said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Heather! That's a fantastic post...so personal...and you are a brave woman to post something so personal. I really enjoyed it very much, and I agree that it's very cool...especially with the photos included.

By the way, my husband's birthday is tomorrow!



Praying for your Prodigal said...

Well then! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Heather...............
Happy Birthday to you!


Anvilcloud said...

Very creative post. Happy 40th.

Gina said...

Hey wait a minute! I thought I was first this morning with a Happy Birthday?!

But, seeing as how that didn't happen, Happy Birthday Heather!

Jenell said...

happy birthday! What a great post.

Dale said...

Happy Birthday, Heather. And God bless that beautiful body of yours!

Jayne said...

What a wonderful and positive way to express celebration for being 40! You are a brave woman!

Simply Coll said...

Happy Birthday to you and your body. Looking good for 40!!

Liz said...

I didn't think much about it when I turned 40, but when you break it down like that, I agree with you completely!

Happy belated birthday!

Beverly said...

A great post. Happy belated birthday.

Linda said...

What a beautiful body, a beautiful person. Happy Birthday!

oshee said...

I absolutely love this post! The last picture is my favorite.

Karla said...

Wow. This is one the neatest posts I've ever seen. Love your creativity and happy belated!

Kristen (Creative Stash) said...

Hi Heather, I found your link to this post over at Creative Every Day and just wanted to say, I love it! This is the cutest and nicest birthday gift you could have given yourself. Thanks so much for sharing :)