My little chicks have swimming lessons on each day this week. They skip along to the pool edge with their little class mates, caps and goggles in place, jiggling with excitement, cute as buttons. I then have 30 mins to myself to wave madly at them and return the odd phone call or email. It's what known in the parenting biz as win-win.
Yesterday, I bumped into another mum I really like. She's one of those incredibly capable women who parents gently and patiently, all the more remarkable when she had four exquisite brown-eyed babies in the space of four and a quarter years (twins helped this along). But what I always notice is her beautiful smile and the warm way she greets me. It's always a treat to see her and soak in her positive, happy energy.
We were at the swimming pool counter together, chatting about family and Christmas and paying our kids' accounts. My friend noticed there was a sale on for adult swimming cossies and asked to have a look at them.
'What size are you?' asked the teenage attendant flatly, utterly oblivious to the terror this question can strike in the hearts of grown-ups.
'Um', this beautiful woman said.
I busied myself retying my shoelace at this point.
She leant forward and said in a faltering, shameful whisper, 'I'm a 14.' Her voice was laced with the kind of shame which would not have been out of place coming from Pol Pot.
I just wanted to cry a river, there and then. For her, for me, for every single woman who has ever felt they needed to apologise for not fitting some stupid photoshopped ideal about what we're supposed to look like.
I looked through the glass window at my little girls, so gleeful in their swimmers and without a body image thought in the world. And I wondered how I can spare them this.
Indigo Kate x