BY A. K. COTHAM
Copyright is held by the author.
HER DAUGHTER is bones. Julie sees it now: more elbows and knees and clavicle than she was even before puberty, when her daughter was simply described as coltish and Julie caught herself thinking (more than once), Maybe she’ll never worry about it — although Julie knows better because the fact remains that facts and people don’t really change no matter how many body-positive promises society makes, and her daughter’s browser history proves as much, showing off everything and more the less that she becomes.
Good parents want more for their children, want their children to achieve more, to be more, to be better, and despite years of therapy and careful words and true health, Julie sees that, in becoming less, her daughter has achieved more than Julie ever did.
And so, that night, despite what the years and therapy and true health have presumably moulded out of her (all the wants and needs safely stored away until she felt her daughter’s concave kneecaps pressed against her own dimply thighs), while the husband who loves all her bits and pieces and the children who came from her bits and pieces all sit laughing and playing games in front of pizza and cake, Julie sidles into the bathroom and kneels for the first time in years, those knees yielding to muscle memory, thinking that just once won’t hurt and knowing, even more deeply, neither does just once lighten the burden of the success, of being the mother she became after all.