Wow – It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything on this blog. I don’t know who followed along before, but if you did and are still around, how are you doing? Long time no see.
Been doing some thinking lately and decided to share. I’ve been reminded the last couple of days that it is so obvious how body image and self-esteem is very much influenced by how parents act. It has also become obvious to me that there is no need for a parent to apologize or negative talk about anything when that parent is trying. Today was “Butterfly Day” in my daughter’s 1st grade class (or however you say that in Spanish? Dia de something or other). Mom left for work early and I have the luxury of working from home most days, so I was tasked with preparing Lyl for the day – not much for me to do anymore now that she is 7. She came to me with a Ziploc bag full of colorful broken Halloween makeup and asked me to help paint her face like a butterfly. It’s going to be almost 90 degrees today, so she was wearing a pink bedazzled tank top and flowery shorts – it’s kind of one of those racer back tanks, which allowed me the space to draw some wings on her shoulders/upper back – these were obviously drawn by Daddy. I followed it up by a butterfly on her face and some pipe cleaners attached to a headband in an attempt to replicate some antenna’s. As I told her OK kiddo, it’s not the greatest, but I tried, she walked to the bathroom to checkout my handy work in the mirror and her smile could not have been wider. It’s very obvious that I’m no makeup artist, but the lesson I learned from her smile was that it doesn’t matter. I’m her Daddy and I took the time to help her out and she wouldn’t have it any other way. It didn’t do either of us any good for me to obsess about how it wasn’t perfect. That got me thinking about how I recently took my 3 year old son to see Marvel Universe Live. I splurged and got us front row seats – it was such a great experience, Just me and the boy – a giant smiling face painted like Spiderman, light up sword, and mouth full of cotton candy as we sat up close and personal with the cast of the show. It occurred to me this morning that I learned something from that day as well but it took me until this morning to get it. We were so close to the action and there were times that he wasn’t so sure about the bad guys running around. When Hulk came out, he was probably 8 feet tall and full of muscles and ANGRY – smashing cars and knocking out guys with one smash – All that it took for him to not be afraid was for me to tell him that I would protect him because to Mickey, his Daddy could handle any bad guy no matter how big or ANGRY. I’m 5’9” on a good day (probably not even that in my Chucks) and no longer bench press 500 pounds. Heck, with my health issues these last few years, I get winded on a brisk walk by the time I hit the corner (which is 1 house away) and would be lucky to lift my weight – But – the thing is that my kids don’t see that – they see their Daddy and to them, I am there hero and invincible.
I guess what I’m saying is when I work to lose this weight from the prednisone and sedentary life style I’ve had these last few years, I need to understand that they hear me when I talk about how I’m fat or look terrible or can’t fit into my clothes, etc. – That type of negative talk does not only not do me any good, but it teaches my kids how to face things in their own battles. They see me when I sit on the couch and stare at the TV and pout instead of making the most of my day -- It’s time to concentrate on letting them hear and see that I’m working to get healthy and that I love them and doing my best and making the most out of this life that sometimes hands us some crummy cards – To them, it doesn’t matter if I’m Mr. Olympia, an underwear model, or a genius, I am their Daddy that would do anything for them and that loves them more than words can say and that is all they ask of me.