Wednesday, November 9, 2011


"Mom! We found a picture of you in a bikini!"

Gack! This is how I was greeted when I drug in from my shift at Wal-Mart late last night. Seems Steve was looking for some old photos from his Marine Corps days, and he had recruited the kids to help him dig through boxes in the attic.

Sure, my kids had heard stories about the itty-bitty, black-and-white polka dot bikini, the bikini that couldn't quite handle the surf zone off the Pacific coast. But they'd never seen actual pictures of it.

The girls waved the offending photograph under my nose, giggling. "Look, Mom!"

So I pulled my reading glasses off the top of my head and checked out the thin, brown, long-ago me in the photo. "Girls, all I can say is, this kind of attire is not appropriate. Not even if your mom wore it a hundred years ago!"

A few other things hit me about that photo. For one thing, I was so thin. Funny, though, how that young 20-something me never felt thin. I don't remember feeling particularly fat, either, but I do remember a vague consciousness that fatness lurked like a hidden enemy, waiting to pounce on me if I let my guard down. I wasn't a dieter, but neither was I completely free to simply enjoy the body God had given me, the way He'd made it. Today, as a solid, "womanly" 50-year-old, I would not want to be as thin as that young woman in the photograph...but it's kind of sad, too, to think that Young Me didn't fully appreciate who she was at the time.

Another thought: how much we enjoyed that short assignment in California. Steve's school was at Camp Del Mar, right on the beach. At lunch time, I'd drive over to the base and meet him for a picnic on the beach, where we'd enjoy the sun and the wind and the crashing of the surf. Weekends, the beach was a cheap, relaxing date. And there were the after-dinner walks around the lakes adjacent to our apartment complex, at the park where Steve taught me to throw and catch a softball.

There were afternoon runs with my neighbor, Debbie Stevens. How I enjoyed the time to talk and decompress with this delightful friend after a day of work! Steve and I made forays into new and unfamiliar territory - touring San Diego with Pat and Teri Arter, California natives, in their totally cool VW bus. A weekend jaunt to Sequoia National Forest. The San Diego Wild Animal Park.

And once in a blue moon, we actually had a visitor from home, someone who spoke that sweet Tennessee twang.

Today, I am not thin, not brown, and you won't catch me dead in a bikini. I don't jog 5 miles every day, or try to see how far out from the shoreline I can swim. But I do not look at that picture of me from the past with longing, wishing I could somehow go back to the days of my youth. Nope. I look at that bikini-clad girl-woman and smile, and think how very grateful I am for the journey God has brought me on - thankful for where I've been, for the things He's taught me on this often bumpy and painful path, for the things He's showing me in this place today.

Anticipating the good things ahead, over the next hill, on the distant horizon.


Anonymous said...

Loved it. You and Suzanne sneaked and I never saw the bikeni. Love you.Dad

Suzanne said...

Ummm...Daddy that was a different time. In the photo mentioned in the blog, Vivi is Steve's wife. Years before that Vivi created her own bikinis for the photo shoot she had me do of her to send to David when he was in the Marines. I do not think Vivi has possession of those older shots. Surely, those pics have long since been destroyed. I do not remember what made Camille think David needed those pictures, but she sure was generous to go to such effort for him!

teamgile said...


I could have written this blog. I have a few of those pictures from when Todd and I were young-and skinny. And I too remember thinking I was not thin!!! Aaahhh. The stuff I would tell that young 20 something now! She would get an earful!!! Ha!

My kids asked me, if there was any age I would be again, what would it be? I said I liked my life today, but if I had to choose I would say, 38. Why? Well, three reasons that stick out the most, one I would have found the Lord by then, or He found me :) , I would have all my children and my body didn't ache when running around or playing soft all! It was a sweet time.

Camille said...

Suzanne, for each picture of a girl in a bikini the recruits posted on the "hog board," David's sergeant would allow them access to a phone to call home. Sacrifice for family...and, yes, I also hope those pictures have been destroyed!

Suzanne said...

Thank you for that reminder of the function of those calls home! I wonder what Leonard had to contribute to his unit to get to call home from Desert Storm???

Anonymous said...

I never even imagined we would find that picture of you!:D
love you!