in defense of the swim dress

I admit it: I, Mary, writer of blog and mother of boys, traditionally wear a swim skirt and tankini top when required to be in a body of water--no bikini, string or otherwise.

And my swim ensemble would probably suit an octogenarian as well as it suits me.

I'm ok with that.

Nearly two years ago I read a post at MODG (warning! not for the faint of heart!) pleading with moms to ditch the "mom swimwear" and find something more flattering to wear to the pool. What she wrote has stuck with me, all this time, and not because I think she's wrong. I actually think she's totally right--it's just that my version of flattering, young and comfortable swimwear looks a lot different than hers.

Last summer we spent a weekend at a cabin resort on a local lake. I packed two swimsuits: one halter cropped halter top with a swim skirt (barring much of my middle), and one tankini top with a swim skirt. Which suit got more use? The one that covered more. I felt more comfortable in it.

I'm not trying to pass judgment on anyone else who can rock a two-piece. With all sincerity I say: If you feel confident in it, then high five! Well done! Splish splash!

Nor am I  indulging in self-body-shaming. I know that I'm a fairly fit, more-or-less trim woman. But I also know that I've carried two babies in three years, had one surgery on my mid-section, and live in a place so devoid of sun, you must frequent an establishment called "Sunny Bunz" to get a tan. No only do I have no desire to wear itsy bitsy, teenie weenie swimwear, I know it wouldn't make me feel confident.

Instead, I find empowering to wear something that flatters, something I'm comfortable and confident showing in a swim setting. While wearing that cropped halter top at the lake, mentioned above, I devoted equal mental energy to playing with my boys as I did trying to make sure my tummy was tucked, not pouching; that my chest was being covered adequately; and that I wasn't attracting the attention of any other male besides Sean within 200 feet.

Who needs that kind of grief? Of preoccupation and self-consciousness?

So this year, I'm seeking to upgrade to, say it with me..... THE SWIM DRESS.

Give me the not-falling-out-of-the-cups chest coverage, the cinched in waist, the dress falling at mid-thigh and some straps. I'll take it--and I'll feel (and look) great in it.

Come on out, ladies. The water's fine.

Linking up with the favoritest Moxie Wife.

life wins / 002

My nearly March-Madness-free sojourn in California had ended and I'm back on the beat. I'm realizing today how much good it does me to look for these stories each week. And I don't have to look far--a few clicks, and I've easily rounded up three beautiful examples of life winning against the darkness, against fear, against pain and evil. Life wins every day.  

Debbie Elnatan, a music therapist in Israel, is a mother who one day found it a necessity to make an invention of her own after some concerning news about her son Rotem, who has cerebral palsy:  
"When my son was two years old, I was told by medical professionals that he didn’t know what his legs are and has no consciousness of them. That was an incredibly difficult thing for a mother to hear. I started to walk him day after day, which was a very strenuous task for both of us. Out of my pain and desperation came the idea for the Upsee and I’m delighted to see it come to fruition."  
She designed a harness for young special needs children that aided them in sitting up straight, improving breathing. and also freeing their hands. By attaching it to a belt worn by an adult they can stand and walk and play.
Go to Jill Stanek's link and watch the video of the Upsee harness in action. Because of my autistic sister Rachel, I've been privileged enough to spend quite a bit of time around the disabled in my life. Seeing the smiles on those CB kids in the video made me tear up. Debbie Elnatan, you're a hero (and a great mom).

While people prayed in the rain at the 40 Days for Life vigil in Sacramento, Wynette – the local coordinator – watched a scene unfold outside the abortion center. 
“Several abortion business employees huddled together, holding their umbrellas, as they took turns hugging one abortion worker in particular,” she said … wondering what was going on. 
A few minutes later, that worker exited the driveway right in front of Wynette and rolled down the car window, ignoring the falling rain. 
“I’ve had enough!” the distraught worker called out. “I hate this place! I quit!” 
“I cannot say much more,” Wynette said … but she added that the worker asked for prayer.
Normally, a story with a headline of "I hate this place" isn't considered a win, but in this case, totally. It should also be mentioned that all of California is in a drought, and rain has been scarce. The dedication of people in the 40 Days for Life campaign there to come out and pray when it'd be more comfortable to stay home gives me goosebumps. And had they not been there, who would have witnessed the worker quitting--and prayed for her?

That woman wasn't forced out of that abortion clinic. She was prayed out.  

When a search result for “abortion help” showed a nearby clinic, Tasha didn’t hesitate. “I called and got the address and put it in my GPS. And then I drove there.” 
Tasha arrived at a life-affirming pregnancy center, where the welcoming warmth and compassion of the staff drew her in. “I had a confirmation test and ultrasound that verified my pregnancy. I was also counseled about all of the options available to me.” 
...Still feeling uncertain about her decision, Tasha used her GPS to locate another clinic in her area. When a different address showed up on her map, Tasha drove there and arrived at a second life-affirming pregnancy center. 
As days passed and Tasha continued to vacillate between choosing LIFE and abortion, she decided she would visit one last clinic. Not recognizing the address that popped up, Tasha followed her GPS’s directions ... only to arrive back at the front desk of the first life-affirming pregnancy center she’d visited just days earlier. 
“I decided then that God was trying to tell me something,” Tasha says.
Online for Life, you're amazing. And this whole idea of change-the-culture-by-entering-into-the-culture thing? You're doing it right.