I have an old pair of flannel pajama pants covered in snowmen. They are soft and faded and comfortable to wear around the house. Luisa bought them for me almost 12 years ago when I was pregnant with Miguel and I wore them often that winter and lived in them when I was pregnant with Zeca a few years later.
I still wear them though they are too big and sag on my hips which makes them too long. I trip over them sometimes so I often walk through the house holding up the pant legs like a lady holding up her petticoats as she steps over a puddle.
Most of the time, I love the comfort they provide, love the memories associated with them.
On Monday, however, I was feeling low and when I put them on that evening, I felt old and fat. I texted Luisa and told her that and she said sweet reassuring things and I continued to vent my self-doubt and she then suggested that I change pants.
I didn't though. I just sighed and moped around the house before turning my attention to dinner.
When Luisa and the kids arrived home, I was standing at the stove cooking and Zeca was the first one in the door. She saw me and smiled the biggest smile and then dropped her bag and walked over to me, "Oh Mama...you look so cute in those snowman pants!" "Really?" I asked. "Yes, so cute." And then she gave me a hug and bounced away to get ready for dinner.
Later, after the kids were in bed, I asked Luisa if she had said anything to Zeca about my texts and the pants. She said that she hadn't which meant that Zeca's words were true to her. She didn't know that I was having a bad day, that I felt old and fat. She saw me in the way a kid sees someone they love - in the best possible way.
Aging is a tricky thing and body image issues will always plague me but, sometimes, having my daughter think I am cute is enough.
And that night...it was everything.