Piper, topless, pushes out her round belly, and turns to me.
"Is my belly fat?"
This is one of those questions in which coming up with an answer is like walking a minefield. Every answer that comes to mind spirals into a frantic volley of why this is not the right answer.
If I tell her no, am I suggesting that fat is a bad thing? I don't think Piper is fat. I think she is deliciously rounded but she is not fat. But I also don't want her to grow up thinking that fat equals bad. I don't want her to spend hours thinking she is ugly because she is fat.
But if I say yes, I know it will hurt her. I am not such a great mom and I know that my own self consciousness about my fat has effected my lovely girl. If I say "yes and you should love it," she will know this is not the truth. She knows this is not how I see myself.
And then I ponder, what if she was fat? Would I see her as any less beautiful? It is impossible to answer this question because Piper is not fat. Or perhaps it is impossible because it is painful to think what my answer might be. I do not always find fat beautiful. I certainly do not look at my fat and see it as lovely. Would love change how I saw my children if they were fat? It is a painful thing to ponder and I turn from that line of thinking. I do not like to examine those shallow dark corners of my mind.
I turn back to that proud, rounded belly, pushed out with a hand on a hip, a sassy girl pose. And I answer
You ARE beautiful. Your belly is beautiful.
Piper likes this answer. She tosses her hair and laughs