When I was tucking Asher into bed the other night, I asked him if he needed anything. Often he will want a sip of water or a “Prince Asher” story. But on this evening, my sweet three-year old wrapped his arms around my neck, looked into my eyes, and said, “I need you.” I tilted my head and asked, “What do you need me for?” Asher smiled and replied, “I need you for you.”
Each day Asher, Annabelle, and Curt teach me new lessons about how to live joyfully, laugh freely, and love unconditionally. When they look at me, they don’t notice a bad haircut, a few extra pounds, or the worry lines around my eyes because I have a to-do list a mile long with nothing checked off. My kids and husband see love and kindness and strength and joy — the best parts of me.
During these last six weeks, I have focused on improving my body, mind, and spirit through the Body Back Transformation program. And while I have made significant progress toward reaching my goals, my biggest accomplishment has been one I didn’t even set out to achieve: I am more consistently choosing to see myself the way my family sees me. After thirty-four years, I am finally (mostly) ok with me. The physical strength I have gained through our workouts coupled with the mental and spiritual clarity that has come through daily meditation and reflection have allowed me to feel comfortable in my own skin. And while I will always embrace the power of yet, the possibility of becoming, and the incredible capacity our bodies and minds have for pushing to new limits, for the first time I can honestly say that I believe I am enough exactly how I am right now.
So when Joslyn and Nicole gathered us into a circle after our intense partner workout Monday evening to discuss our unexpected accomplishments, I was eager to share this revelation. I feel this amazing freedom, and I want to grab all of my beautiful friends by their shoulders and implore them to join me in declaring that we are enough. Wear whatever clothes you want to — your body is perfect just the way it is. Put on that mascara if you would like, but your eyes will shine the same without it. Bring homemade muffins to the next playdate if you enjoy baking, but what your friends really care about is seeing you. Clean your house if it makes you and your family more comfortable, but don’t worry about toys on the floor and a little dust. Read that book everyone is talking about or don’t. Just be you.
It might surprise some that I've been able to finally reach this level of personal acceptance through a program called Body Back Transformation. When I scroll through my Facebook and Instagram feeds, there are always a handful of articles about how to "drop the baby weight fast" and "get bikini ready." The pressure to "get your body back" is intense. However, Body Back Transformation is about so much more than looking a certain way. The program is about helping moms rediscover themselves. It is so easy to get lost in your children, and this eight-week program provides women with the time and resources to find themselves again. We meet twice a week for HIIT-style workouts. Each class is different and challenging in its own way. (And fun! Who knew exercise could be so much fun?) There is also an exercise schedule to encourage us to stay active throughout the entire week. Nutrition is another important part of the program. We support each other in planning healthy (and delicious!) meals and snacks. Joslyn and Nicole also have us write down what we eat, so we can hold ourselves accountable for following the plan. The focus is on fueling our bodies--it's not a diet or any sort of deprivation. I've also appreciated the special challenges. For example, last weekend we were asked to post pictures on our group Facebook page of us doing something active with our families. That challenge really epitomizes the heart of the program for me: enjoying a healthy lifestyle with the people we love. When I'm playing in the park with Asher, Annabelle, and Curt, I couldn't be more thankful for all of the blessings of today. Life is more than enough; I am more than enough.
I wish I could go back and tell my twelve-year old self to smile and not worry about her braces. I wish I could encourage my sixteen-year old self to speak up in class and share her ideas and questions. I wish I could persuade my twenty-year old self that she doesn’t have to get all As and participate in so many extracurricular activities. I wish I could let my twenty-three year old self know that she doesn’t have to adopt any persona to be an effective teacher; students will respond best when she is herself. I wish I could whisper in my twenty-six year old self’s ear to just dance and enjoy your wedding — don’t worry about how your dress looks or if your hair is falling down. I wish I could inform my thirty-one year old self that all you have to do to be the best mom for your kids is to love and listen to them.
But I can’t go back; there are no do-overs. I hope I can live all of my tomorrows more fully, not bogged down with self-doubt and the futile pursuit of perfection. But the truth is that all I have is right now. So I am going to publish this post, knowing that it doesn’t perfectly capture what is in my heart and mind but hoping that my words might inspire you to let go of what is holding you back from being completely present in this moment because you are enough. You are enough. You. Are. Enough. And there is a little boy or girl, man or woman, friend or family member who needs you just for you.