Fat, Old and Camel-Nosed

My son, who will be 5 in February, believes that there is a direct correlation between age and body size. 

While I was making us grilled cheese for lunch today, he asked how his 15-year-old brother can be taller than Daddy when Daddy is older.  I explained—well, I’d thought—how people come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of age.   

I gave examples of his friends who are already 5, yet physically smaller than he is.  I told him that there are women younger than I am who are larger than I am—and older women who are more petite.  Then I had to explain “petite.”

He learned nothing from our conversation, for, tonight, as I was putting him to bed, he said, “Mama, you’re getting to be the oldest in the house.”

“Daddy’s older than I am.”

“Well, you’re fatter than Daddy.  He can’t even pick you up.”

And, while he’s accurate that my two in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, initial twin pregnancy, loss of Baby B, and 40-plus-pound weight gain have aged me, my actual age hasn’t leapt forward three years to exceed my husband’s of 44.

After declaring my ever-growing body the reason I am “getting to be the oldest in the house,” in the ultimate act of sweetness and/or sympathy, my son said, “Because you bonked your nose with a swing when you were little…,” then leaned over and kissed my nose.

I broke my nose when I was 7.  Bored, I was playing alone in my backyard in Louisville, Kentucky, flinging a swing under the swing set, then catching it as it hurled back at me.  Once, I missed, and the hard-plastic seat hit me full-force in the nose.  Since then, I’ve had a prominent bump, visible only in profile, yet this bump was the source of much childhood anguish, for kids in my grade-school class would call me “camel nose” and, because I was considered smart, would taunt me with, “’The Nose’ always knows.”

Tonight, after declaring me fat and therefore old, my son immediately thought of my disfigured nose.  Then, he kissed it.

Which means I am loved, unconditionally loved.

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