Mobile Alabama just finished up another Mardi Gras. In case you’ve forgotten, this is a big deal all along the Gulf Coast. Societies start planning on Ash Wednesday for next year. There’s Balls to attend, beads to catch and bad decisions to regret. Well, not that last part for me anymore. It’s all about spending time enjoying tradition with my son and his little family. Not that we don’t enjoy some adult beverages. Because we definitely do. We just don’t regret it the next day.
We found a prime spot for parade watching and we waited. We were early. We spent three hours talking, eating street food and loving on our angel girl praying she would stay this happy the rest of the night.
We started taking pictures. Just the adults at first. Selfies. So many selfies. My daughter-in-law and I both screening pics and tossing them all to the cutting room floor.  “Ugh… I look awful!”  “Don’t you dare post that!”. I’m gonna warn you. The rest of this post is one you’ve read a hundred times in any self love post. Only this time…. it’s mine and it broke my heart.
This is when it happened. I asked my granddaughter to smile and let me take her picture. No sooner had I asked and she covered her face with the speed of lightning. She hid from the camera. She has never done that. My jaw dropped. And it only took my son a split second to snatch up the soapbox.
“Do y’all see what you’ve done!” He was right. I couldn’t even argue. I preach that we have to watch what we say around them about ourselves because they listen. He didn’t let it go, either. He’s my son. He gave us down the road. I wanted to whoop my own ass.
I remember vividly my mother talking negatively about her body. I love my mama. She didn’t realize we were listening. She didn’t know that we watched as she picked apart the parts of her that we knew we also carried. I can never remember my mother in a swimsuit without an over sized T-shirt. Ever.
So, I have some work to do. I have to wear a swimsuit around that baby. I have to treat myself with love in front of her. But let me say this…. babies don’t just need to see women loving themselves, they need to see fathers, grandfathers, sons…. all loving the women in their life just the way they are. Daddies need to tell mama. Granddads need to tell grandma. And not just on the good days. The bad days, too. This needs to be normal for our girls so in the absence of it they will question the person in their life instead of themselves. I’m gonna work on me. And we all need to work on each other.