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Dog Fur Ankles and Big Thighs

I was face-down on the chiropractor’s table, cursing a pain that radiated up my neck and into my head. So annoying. I was hoping my Active Release Techniques treatment would knock it out as it usually did. My girls were with me, not my choice, but inevitable since my husband doesn’t get home until after 6:30. Little Girl loves it when I am on the table. She likes to play chiropractor, rubbing my ankles, legs, and back. My eyes were closed when I heard the first comment.

“Wow, look! Why does Mommy have dog hair on her legs?” And then she rubbed the back of my ankles vigorously, pointing out that I had missed the back of my legs while shaving that day. I started to say something but didn’t have a chance to before Big Girl piped up. “Wow, Mommy, why are your thighs so big?” They kept up the questions until dumbfounded, I realized I was either going to laugh or cry. I decided to laugh.

It started as a giggle and then grew into a loud, rolling guffaw. My shoulders shook. Tears dripped out of my eyes and onto the crinkly paper covering the headrest. The girls, noticing my movement, decided to ramp their comments up a bit. Little Girl wanted to know if I had “fur” on my belly, too. Big Girl started shaking my thighs as if to make a point. A few minutes later the doctor came in to complete my treatment.

Once I got into the car I texted three of my close friends, telling them the story of my dog hair-covered legs and chubby thighs. (Which I truly prefer to call strong!) One by one the girls sent me texts of their own kids and their insults. The bruises on my ego started fading. I smiled, realizing how special it is to have kids who make me laugh and friends who are always there to make me smile. By the time I made it home my headache stared lifting. I’m not sure if it was the big laugh the kids gave me or the warm fuzzy texts.

I can remember being a child standing behind my mom, who is close to six feet tall. I put both hands on her behind and starting singing, “Pat the fat, pat the fat.” I have no idea why I did that. I wasn’t trying to be malicious. The phrase rhymed and her bottom did have some cushion. I remember how she spun around and pretended to cry. I laughed thinking it was a game. My kids didn’t think they were saying anything wrong, either. They weren’t, really. They were playing their own game. I was just a doll to manipulate. One with hairy ankles.

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