Girls, Stop Doing This

Written By: Kim - Jul• 14•13

Yesterday our family was at a summer swim meet for our children. All of the teams require the parents to volunteer because the meet literally cannot happen without them. I was in the last timer’s slot which started at 11 am.

As the last age group walked on deck (ages 15-18) for relays, I heard one of the teen girls say to the other: “Last race of the day…if I can get my big self into the pool.” I almost had whip lash turning to look at this girl. My suspicions were confirmed: This athlete was in fine shape.

red buttonI have seen roughly 2,000+ kids competitively swim since my children joined the summer league in 2012. This includes the high school swim team that my son is a part of. I only have seen a handful of overweight athletes; not the ones who just think they are. But, even these athletes can still swim faster than the average adult. Ask any adult if they can swim 50 meters in any stroke in less than one minute. They will laugh. The majority of the athletes I see (and yes, this includes dancers, gymnasts, etc.) are in great shape and aerobically conditioned.

Girls, stop sabotaging your self-esteem by using words that are negative when you discuss or think about yourself. I am serious. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Do not buy in to the Madison Avenue air brushed, Photoshopped version of who you think you are supposed to be. A quick Google search will yield plenty of eye-opening images: real images of supposedly perfect-looking women without makeup, Photoshop or a hair stylist.

Stop comparing your body to that of your friends. Everyone is built slightly differently. Apple, pear, athletic, curvaceous, it does not matter. Stop worrying about a thigh gap. They are not natural. What matters is you and the contributions you make to your family, friends, local community and one day, the world. What matters is your heart and mind.

And while you are at it, tell your Mom to stop calling herself fat. Show her the same images. Tell her that it impacts you in a negative way. Respect yourself or no one else will.

Three Things I Miss Most about My Mom

Written By: Kim - May• 11•13

It has been 11 years since my Mom passed away. In celebration of Mom’s everywhere, here’s a post remembering the woman who gave birth to and raised me. While I miss many things about my Mom, here are my top three.

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

Marie Wickline and me, Savannah, GA, 1970

  1. Her gift of voice. Kids now do not really understand how loud a mother’s voice can be. We had old school cell phones: Mom yelling throughout the neighborhood for you to come home for dinner. If you could not hear your Mom’s voice, then you must have left the neighborhood. There would be hell to pay when you finally showed up late. At the time my Mom died, she did not own a cell phone so there is no outgoing voicemail message I can call and listen to. And, quite frankly, even if she had, my Dad probably would have cancelled it by now anyway. He is pragmatic about paying a bill for something that is no longer necessary. I have old film and audio tapes that I am sure I could have converted so I could listen and watch. But, honestly, I am not sure how painful that would be.
  2. Her gift of possibility. My Mom told me that I could do and be anything I wanted. The oldest child of Italian immigrants, my Mom grew up in the depression. She lived through World War II while her parents ran a local grocery store. She raised her four children alone after her first marriage dissolved. She continued to raise the younger of the four and me, partially alone when my Dad was deployed with the US Army. Aside from the challenges she faced, she gave me unconditional love and raised me with good self esteem. I saw her attend junior college classes in her 50s. I saw her stand by her man through his struggle with alcoholism, his eventual win and conversion to Catholicism. Anything is possible.
  3. Her gift of faith. My mother had a good life, but she also had a realistic life. Ups and downs were simply part of it. She handled them well whether that meant private anguish or public gracefulness.

Other than literally hearing my Mom’s voice, the two things that I miss the most have never really left me. She instilled in me the gift of possibility and faith. Perhaps that is why she used to remind me: “With God, all things are possible.”

For those of you who still have your Mom around, give her an extra hug for those of us who are now motherless. And thank her again for all that she has done for you. You never really understand that until you become a Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!