Yesterday i drove into Hale'iwa looking for a place to buy a new bathing suit. Somehow I came to Hawai'i with only one suit, and it is stretched out so the elastic is unreliable. I was feeling like a mother should probably stay covered at the pool and not be flashing people when she went to pick her son up, or not lose her top when she lifted him out of the ocean waves, as happened to me several times. I decide I must go buy something that is more amenable to these conditions... attractive yet modest.
So, i naively walk into the first store I find, one of many surf shops, and ask, "do you have bathing suits?" The salesgirl looks at me like I am a purple martian with four heads, and says, "uh, yes"... obviously it was the most absurd question she had been asked that day. She then recovers, and tells me they are all against the back wall. I go over and tell the girl I am looking for something with a little more coverage, maybe more 'conservative'. I pick out six of these more conservative one piece suits, a nice bikini, and one tie dye suit that is a one piece string, with a strip over the belly but open along the sides. I try on all the one pieces, and although several are nice, they are frumpy. I know it is what I said I wanted, but I don't like how I feel in these. I try on the string tie dye piece- it's completely crazy, not something I would typically choose, but I just love it. I am encouraged by the girls in the store: buy it, buy it, it looks great, who says a mom has to wear something conservative? who says age matters?
So I do it. And I drive home thinking, what got into me? I know... it was something they said about being able to still feel good about how you look even though you are a mother. Yes, I thought, I can be a role model for that... I am allowed to look good, to still wear what I like, to not feel the rules have all suddenly changed with motherhood in terms of what is appropriate to wear and what is not. So I walk out of the store carrying a brightly colored string bikini with a strip down the middle, probably the sexiest most outrageous bathing suit I have ever owned. Hey, why not?