Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

June 16, 2017

The Body I Got from My Mama

Words: Bridget Hutchens
Photo credit: Devan Freeman

 

My mother says that when God was passing out hips and thighs, He gave her someone else’s. 

 

Her sturdy lower half of her body just doesn’t quite fit her petite waist and slender shoulders. And I have inherited my mother’s body. The truth is that’s actually a pretty good thing. It means I was a fat baby, a skinny kid, and kept my fit teenage body all the way into mid-thirties. In fact, all three of my siblings and I looked like we were seventeen starting at the age of twelve until we were thirty-five. Well, now I am thirty-five.

 

I recently saw an old friend from high school who said that I finally look my age without the baby face. I suppose that’s a nice way of saying that it looks like I am aging.  I always thought I would age gracefully, embracing each line on my face and every gray hair as a sign of wisdom. In reality, the wrinkles have inspired expensive skin cream and I am plucking out my silver strands one by one. This is not the kind of grace I had in mind.

 

And then there are my hips and thighs. Like my mother, my body from the waist down has always been sturdier than my slight upper body.  At a lighter weight, I could make it blend reasonably well, but now, it’s as though my thighs are working hard to bust free of all my pants.  Luckily, lengthy tunics and cardigans are in style right now.

 

Despite the battle with my hips and thighs, I am grateful for this body that my mother gave me. It’s healthy, which is the most important thing. It has allowed me to push it in running, biking, yoga, and swimming, all activities that help me feel more alive. After three and a half decades, it doesn’t give me pain or disability. I am an able-bodied individual. But the struggle to age gracefully is real and perhaps is also a gift. For struggles produce character and developed character is the bedrock for wisdom.  And what’s the point in growing older if not to also grow wiser with more insight for oneself and others?

 

As the birthdays roll in year after year, we must all learn how to balance the blessing of each new year with the loss of our youth. For now, I will stick with my expensive skin cream and plucking my silver highlights all the while being grateful for this healthy body I got from my mama. On good days, I’ll even be grateful for those hips and thighs, sending them love for how they support me and lift me up.  I’ll eat that cookie and go for that run, embracing the mixture of struggle and grace. I will breathe deeply, all the way through those heavier hips and thighs to the tips of my toes, and be grateful to be alive and for the gift and struggle of growing older.

 

 

About the Author: A curator of beauty, a steward of healing, and a seeker of light … Bridget is a writer, a midwife, and a full-time Ph.D. student. For Bridget, beauty, healing and light are interconnected and intermingle with the best life has to offer. When not writing, supporting expectant parents, or working on her research, she enjoys movement (yoga, running, biking, swimming), songs (writing music on her guitar), traveling (exotic places from Kentucky to India), and sipping hot cups of tea.

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Comments ( 8 )

  1. Elaine Rosenfeld

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Inspiring. I am 74 and have expanded hips and thighs. You are delightful.

  2. Ellen F.

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    This is so me too! My mother used to say that God had us stand in the hips and thighs line twice just for good measure. I too, am trying to age gracefully in a world that doesn’t see aging as graceful at all. Although I might complain about the hips and thighs (especially when clothes shopping), I find it comforting to also know that I am like my mother. I think she would like it too.

  3. Ella Wilson

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Struggle and grace says it all! I enjoyed your honesty and shared blessings. There is beauty in our reality~ As I read your essay-I was reminded of a book I once read which spoke about owning who we are~

    Cheers, to being you, being me, and trying to find comfort in our skins!!!

  4. J.Hall

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Thank youfor sharing your graceful most beautiful message.

  5. Terry Gassett

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I’ll be 62 this month – and while I don’t have expanding hips and thighs, I do have many more gray hairs and am carrying extra weight. It is a struggle to grow older. But you are so right – it is also a grace. Thank you for this timely reminder for me. I needed it. 🙂

  6. Yvonne

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you, Bridget, for writing this tribute to your “hips and thighs” that you’ve grown to embrace with age. I too looked young for my age and was ridiculed for being too skinny as a teen and young adulthood. Now that I’m in my fourth decade, I can embrace my figure that needed the extra weight. And, you’re right, having struggled through my own personal illnesses, being healthy is all that really matters.

  7. Becca K. Davis

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Lovely writing!

  8. Cindy Barta

    April 19, 2024 at 9:27 am

    What a beautiful way to see what we see as flaws as a gift.
    You have given so many a way to see that brick wall as a beautiful looking glass to see themselves as beautiful as god sees them. Wow what a gift!! Thank You

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