Each year we put up our Christmas tree. Each year I string the lights. Each year the kids put on the ornaments. Each year I then fill the top of the tree and the massive holes with more ornaments because I’m a control-freak like that. And each year I move this ornament from the front of the tree to the back, where no one will ever see it.
See, I hate this picture of me from middle school. H-A-T-E. Hate. Hate. HATE. Hate. It’s why I move it each year. My goofy smile. My big nose. My big teeth with braces. You know, all those over-sized features that make middle school kids so awkward until they grow into them.
The kids think it’s funny. “Mo-ooom, we hung your ornament right in fro-ooont!” And I used to laugh at them and then move it when they went to bed.
This year, while the kids were hanging their ornaments, I heard Cameran say “I’m hanging this one in the back! The picture of me is so ugly!”
See, here I was thinking I was funny each year by moving my “ugly ornament” to the back where no one would see. “Silly old ornament of me from middle school! I don’t want anyone seeing that I used to look like that!” Funny? Not so much.
Because each year as I moved that ornament I was teaching my girls to be ashamed of what they look like. Each year I was telling them that I wasn’t good enough to be on the front of the tree. Each year I was instilling in them wrong ideas. Hurtful, horrible ideas that what they look like now will be embarrassing later.
Cami’s ornament? It was a picture of her as a baby from her VERY FIRST Christmas.
I want to cry.
I’ve always been really careful about what I say about my body in front of the girls. I don’t do radical diets that would make me eat differently than our family does. I don’t talk about being overweight as a bad thing because I hate how I look, but as a health issue that I want to be a healthy mom who can be active with her kids and be around for a long time. I have rules about how no one eats a meal at the table alone, etc. I’ve always been so careful to protect them.
I had no idea that moving an ornament each year would have such an impact.
I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions. Honestly, it’s because I know I’ll fail and I don’t like setting myself up for failure. But this year, I’m making an important New Year’s resolution. Maybe the most important ever. This year, I’m going to be happy with myself.
That doesn’t mean I won’t work to improve myself. That I don’t still want to lose 20 pounds or keep exercising more. That I won’t take care of my house better or work harder to be a better wife, mom, friend and employee.
What it means is that I’m going to learn to love myself. To see myself as God sees me. To love who I was created to be.
It’s the best gift I can possibly give my girls.
And I want you to join me. I need accountability. And I want you to love yourself too, imperfections and all. Let’s learn together. Let’s support each other and learn from each other. So tell me if you’re going to do this with me. Comment below and let’s do this thing. There’s strength in numbers, right? 🙂