Our Bodies and Ourselves

Tanya Ward Goodman

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

“Your body is sometimes yucky,” I said this morning. “It does weird stuff. It’s sticky and oozy and bumpy and weird. It’s only going to get weirder.”

My son looked at me with wide eyes. He ducked his chin into the collar of his sweatshirt.

“It’s a pimple,” I said. “No biggie.”
“It’s not a pimple,” he said. “It’s a zit.”

“Yep. Everyone gets them.”

My boy gave me the sideways smile he reserves for his most uncomfortable moments. Good and bad. It’s the sideways smile he’ll wear when he fails a test or kisses a girl or drinks a beer. Hopefully, he’ll share all these things with me willingly, but if he doesn’t, the sideways smile will reveal the truth.

He leaned his chin back and let me take a good look at the big whitehead poking its gnarly self right out of his smooth, poreless skin. A breath away from nine years old and he’s already got to deal with this? It’s the pinnacle of unfairness.

I explained the concept of the pimple – its inner workings. I warned not to poke too early. I showed him how to wrap tissue around his fingertips and how to gently push on either side of the thing.

He was horrified. And then intrigued. And then pleased when, with a little urging, the gruesome zit was vanquished.

“See,” I said. “Easy.”

He looked up at me, grinning.

“Will you write a blog about me?”

“About you and the zit?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I think it would be good. It’s dramatic.”

And it was. It’s most certainly not the most dramatic thing that will happen to his body. There will of course be situations he won’t even want to share with me, let alone the whole world wide web. But it was good to talk about the zit, make a joke about it, and turn it into a story.

My son is on the edge of nine, his last single digit year and I’m moving headlong into the middle of my forties. We’ve each got a good decade of change ahead. If we can keep our sense of humor, just think of all the stories we’ll have to tell.

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