The other day my daughter and I were in our laundry room. As I was bending down transferring the clothes from the washer into the dryer I looked at her and said, 'I can't understand why I don't have the legs of Cindy Crawford.'
She looked at me in a way only a teenage daughter can look at her mother and replied, 'What are you talking about?'
Inasmuch as I have been thinking about this subject for years, I responded quickly.
'Since I gave birth to you nineteen years ago, I have done nothing but bend over as well as handle all sorts of heavy lifting. I should have the legs and arms of a former super model!'
It's true. Think about it. From the time our children are born, we are constantly bowing, twisting, shifting, leaning, rocking, crouching, turning, tilting, contorting, squatting and sometimes cowering. From placing your infants in and out of the crib, lifting them as they grow into heavy toddlers, dragging them to school on days they don't want to go and usually with their sibling clinging to your other leg, running the bases with your child because when you signed them up for T-ball they suddenly realized they were too shy to run the bases alone, chasing after the ice-cream truck, grabbing their arms and swinging them through the air despite the fact that you have a mean case of vertigo, carrying a stroller, two toddlers and two diaper bags while trying to board a plane, holding your limp 10 year old in the doctor's office when they have a high temperature and haven't eaten in three days and racing in your barefeet throughout the neighborhood when you realize your third grader is late walking home from school. It's a constant workout.
Of course the list goes on. Jogging behind your child as she learns to ride a bicycle, walking in the sweltering heat with a youngster on your shoulders as she eats a melting ice cream cone because her feet hurt, running through a Toys R Us on Black Friday at 6 a.m. trying to purchase one of the limited release video games because 'THAT IS ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS!' This makes me conservatively estimate that I have performed more than 4 million squats, lifted a bazillion pounds in child weight, ran the length of an infinite number of football fields and contorted myself into many positions so I could fit into homemade forts for a picnic (and feel) they should name a new yoga position after mothers. So it's no wonder our bodies start falling apart once the last one leaves for college. And yes, you are still flexing your muscles while they are in high school. Do you think the heavy boxes of food from Costco for your children and their friends shops and loads itself magically in the car?
The other day, I walked to my son's soccer game using my umbrella as a cane. This would all be acceptable if I had the toned legs and arms of Cindy Crawford. If I could parade around in a bikini at 50, then all of my physical efforts for the past 18 years would be well worth it. It doesn't make sense everything slowly falls apart when the last one leaves. I should be in the best shape of my life in a fair and kind world. But apparently nature doesn't play by those rules. Just ask my legs.
Julie McGuire is a busy Lake Oswego mother of three children and a monthly columnist for the Lake Oswego Review. When she's not playing chauffeur she writes a blog, 'From the Mudroom' at www.sospouse.blogspot.com.