The day before we left on our recent road trip, my husband mentioned something about getting an automatic fish feeder for Mr Justice’s fish.
“It’s all under control,” I said, waving my ‘To Do” list at him. “I’ve already organised actual people to feed our pets”.
“Oh, yeah,” my husband replied. “You just do all this stuff and I just get in the car and drive…”
Which is how it goes. I pack clothes, toiletries, bathers, towels, books and games for myself and the three kids and organise all the car snacks and drinks and for people to feed our pets and collect our mail and take out the bins.
And all my husband does is stuff three pairs of undies, a couple of black t-shirts and his toothbrush into a plastic shopping bag.
I’m being a bit unfair, of course. There’s some other minor details he attends to regarding car maintenance – you know, checking the oil, water and tyres and that – but that’s got to take him less than 15 minutes, right?
Anyway, the point is I really only have myself to blame about the bathers I packed for myself. Truth be told, I didn’t give them much thought because I only anticipated wearing them in the pool at a cheap Canberra motel…
I will say that it was entirely my husband’s fault we ended up at Bondi Beach on the first real beach-going day of spring along with half of Sydney. Our family stuck out a mile with our glow-in-the-dark bodies and our children wearing flotation vests even in the shallow water. It was the equivalent of carrying a huge banner that said “YES, WE ARE FROM MELBOURNE”.
The bathers I was wearing were a two-piece but not, I should stress, a bikini. The top was meant to cover my torso but because I’ve got the longest torso known to woman (to complement my short-arse legs), it kept riding up to reveal my crepe-paper tummy. Of course, I had also spontaneously broken out in pimples right across my decolletage, so I couldn’t pull the top down too much else I start making people worry I was contagious. And finally, any thought of going all “Harry High Pants” by pulling my bottoms up to cover my tummy was out because of the small matter of the neglected lady garden…
So there was my choice: should I showcase my crepe-paper tummy, my lady garden overgrowth or my plague-like symptoms?
It’s little wonder then that, when forced to walk along the boulevard at North Bondi in front of hundreds of sunbathing hotties, I chose to hold my bag in front of me to cover my multitude of sins.
Until my dad appeared out of nowhere to help me, that is.
“Let me take that for you, sweetheart,” my dad said, reaching out for my strategically-placed bag.
“No, Dad, I’m okay,” I said.
“No, really,” he said, trying to take the bag off me.
“Nooooo!” I said, trying to hold onto the bag.
It was like that scene in ‘Trainspotting’ where the goofy one is trying to take his soiled sheets to laundry. I need not go into any further detail about that scene but let’s just say, I felt that the horror unleashed when my dad finally wrenched the bag away from me was on a par. I ended up having to scuttle the rest of the way, with my hand on my chest, my top pulled down and my thighs pressed together, my head hung in shame.
But here’s the real shame: as I sat down and started to write about all this, I began to truly blush. Not because of my body, no. But because I had let my body down. My body is a magical place – it has harboured three lives and fed them to independence. It has worked hard for me and my children, goddammit. Why did I have to get so highschool about it? I should have held my head up high and strutted my stuff like an entrant in the Smokin’ Hot Postpartum Mama Contest.
That said, however, I should probably take a leaf out of my husband’s book and give myself a 15 minute maintenance check before we set off on our next family holiday…