Monday, September 12, 2011

Potbelly pride

I've always been a pretty shy person. It takes me a while to get comfortable around new people, and until I am, I stay quiet and don't say much. I'm never the one to jump in the middle of the circle and dance, no matter how much I love the song. And I absolutely avoid eye contact when I hear "Can we get a volunteer to come up on stage?" It's a quality I wish I could change about myself because it holds me back in many situations.

Nathan seems to be very outgoing and I am so thankful for that. If he hears music, it doesn't matter if we're in the middle of the mall, he drops everything and starts dancing. He doesn't care what he looks like, he shakes his booty and twists his hips like nobody's watching. He prances around in his diaper, pot belly hanging out for all the world to see, without a care in the world.  I love that about children, they don't care what anybody else thinks of them. Oh how I wish we could hang onto that quality forever. Why do we have to grow up and become insecure? At what point do we start noticing other people, and what they think of us? When exactly do we stop standing out and start blending in? Why can't we dress ourselves in striped tights, Superman capes and yellow rain boots forever?

What a different world it would be if we never lost that disregard. If we never judged ourselves, or another person based on their looks. If we never worried about being accepted. We eventually start hiding behind control tops and referring to magazines to discover what we "should" be wearing. To a certain degree, we inevitably all follow the crowd and try our best to fit in. At some point, most of us stop dancing in the middle of department stores, just because we heard a good beat.

Will and I want Nathan to be proud of who he is and what he looks like forever. We will do our best to encourage him to always follow his own heart, and not worry about that other people think. We hope he will always dance if the mood strikes. I know the day will come when Nathan will worry about what's "cool" and might like a band just because his friends like them. Or he won't let me kiss him goodbye at school because his friends will tease him. But for now he doesn't care what anybody elese thinks of him. Right now, Nathan is ready to dance at a moment's notice no matter who's watching him and he's obviously proud of his little buddha belly and I say to him, "You go on with your bad self!

(And although I proudly commend him for his healthy body image, I do have to sit down and explain to him that flashing people in the middle of Bruegger's Bagels while they wait in line for their morning coffee might not be the best venue for displaying such pride.)

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