I remember as a teenager, when my body was growing from girl to woman,
my Mother would look at me dressed in short shorts or a mini skirt and
say, “You have nice legs.” My Dad would agree. “You have your Mother’s
legs,” he’d say. Sometimes at the mall or the beach or even a family
reunion, my Mother would point out the less than perfect female leg.
“She doesn’t have an ankle,” my Mom might whisper into my ear about a
distant relation. “Thick thighs…” she would say about a girl
dating my brother.
My Mother was not vain or catty. Unlike many young girls, I was never
once taught to value the size of my chest or the width of my waist. I
instead was taught to value the part of my body that could take me
somewhere, whether it be to the basketball hoop in my driveway where I
spent many an hour as a young girl, mastering the left-handed lay-up,
to the finish line of a 26.2 mile running course in college or to the end of my first triathlon this spring, my legs- complete with thin ankles and muscular thighs- were what got me there, and even farther…
Through the efforts of these limbs, my mind becomes clear, my
distress forgotten and my drive enhanced. My legs infuse a new life
into all of me- my head, my heart, even my soul. When I run and swim and bike and feel my legs stretching and contracting, sweating and working, they inspire me to keep going, to keep trying, to keep achieving. When my legs go unused, I am not the same.
My husband now jokingly comments, “Ya got nice stems.” He knows,
though, as do my mother and father, those two “stems” are more than
just window dressing. My legs do not dissolve world hunger or resolve the Middle East conflict. But in their action, they do give me peace with myself, with my life and even with my world. If only everyone could believe in their legs.
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