The children nibble on their snacks, debating important life issues adults often don’t have time for. The topic this day is private parts. An animated discussion centres on what actually constitutes a private part, and how imperative it is that once categorized as such, it remains covered.
They move through the obvious ones quickly, but upon reaching the tummy, find they are in quite a conundrum. Is it a private part? Isn’t it? Should it remain covered or is it ok to expose this expanse of skin? There does not appear to be an easy answer. My darling Koby sits with brow furrowed, chin resting on his hand, contemplating; in his world there is only one right answer. I see the moment clarity comes to him, and he announces with authority, “It is not a private part for girls, but definitely should be for Mommys!” At this he scrunches up his nose and continues, “When you get to be a Mommy, your tummy gets all squishy and wrinkly with lines all over it.” He shudders, picturing the only Mommy tummy he knows.
My baby girl giggles happily, innocent of any future insinuations this may have for her. Brown curls bob enthusiastically as my Max nods in hearty agreement. It is the conflicted look my oldest son gives me that stops my heart. He recognizes the implications of this verdict. Though logically he agrees with his younger brothers, his heart hurts at what this means for me.
Oh dear boys! What if you loved because of the lines? What if those lines, carved across the landscape of life, were the very objects of beauty themselves? What if the softness of sacrifice was the pillow you rested your head on; respite in a hard world. What if love wrinkled by pain and time, was an intimate circle not prostituted for the masses but kept sacred, for only a few to behold?
My baby girl! Who will decide beauty for you? Will eyes of love shield you from the harsh appraisals of a world that doesn’t know what lines were carved to make you beautiful?
I draw my firstborn closer and whisper, “It is the pathway of love, and it is beautiful.”