big jeans for 2015

By Deb Baer Becker
Woman Newspapers

I have two sizes of blue jeans: the size I wore before my daughter's wedding and the size I wore after my daughter's wedding.

Just before my daughter’s beach wedding, I was so smooth, so svelte, and so elegant. I’d found my waistline. My jeans fit so well, I could tuck my shirt and wear a belt.

That was six months ago.

I didn’t stop eating carbs or quit drinking wine or anything crazy like that. Instead, I did what made sense. I ate more of what my kids call “clean food,” and I threw the mocha- almond-fudge-peanut-butter-madness ice cream in the trash.

I added a strenuous exercise class -- kettle bells and medicine balls and a 9-pound body bar -- to my somewhat regular Jazzercise workouts. I’d sweat and grunt and laugh at myself because I’m just not an athlete. But I kind of secretly felt like an athlete after each class.

And I was mother-of-the-bride busy -- the invitations and the bridal showers and all of those beautiful gifts that UPS delivered to our front door -- these details were like pearls in the sand of my days, and I danced within their swift currents from morning to night.

Like most brides’ moms, I wanted to look good in my dress on my daughter’s special day. Hell, fabulous! I wanted to look fabulous. Since I knew I’d lounge and swim at the beach with our wedding guests over the celebration’s long weekend I wanted to look OK in a bathing suit, too.

Kay’s wedding weekend was one of the happiest times in my life. I felt light in pounds and light in spirit.

I wore my slimmest-fitted blue jeans on the flight home. It was the best of times.

Once I got back to my day-to-day routine the clean food became scarce.The mocha- almond-fudge-peanut-butter-madness ice cream moved back into our freezer. Instead of grilling fish and making salads, the Hubster and I went out for Mexican food and ordered in pepperoni pizzas. Apparently, the after-wedding blues are not just for brides.

I stopped tucking my shirt.

I skipped a few workouts and then a few more, and then I couldn’t zip the slim-fit jeans anymore.

Sadness moved into our lives with the illness and then passing of my sweet mother- in-law. I tried to comfort my Hubster in his grief, knowing that grief is a weight that we carry, and that he’d miss his mom’s bright spirit and love forever. We both miss her. To cheer ourselves we rescued a puppy, a tawny fur bundle of tail wagging joy, only to find out he had parvovirus and then distemper and then aggression. Pat and I returned him to the collie rescue on a rainy Friday evening.

I could not zip all of our sadness into my jeans.

Life ebbs and flows. If I’ve understood anything in this life, it would be that nothing is constant. Nothing is certain. It’s what philosophers call the human condition. It’s the knuckles in the fist of life.

I needed my mom. I needed some time with my mom, and so I got on a plane to Harrisburg to see her.

After I dropped my bags at Mom’s house, we went to the Wharf for dinner. The Wharf serves what I like to call real food, food that is worth every calorie. The weather was surprisingly warm, balmy, so we sat outside on the patio where late summer flowers bloomed under a canopy of autumn’s gold and crimson glossed trees.

Mom ordered grilled mahi-mahi and her big jeans daughter ordered chicken parmesan with spaghetti.

I said,“Mom, I’ve got to lose weight! I’m wearing my biggest jeans, and they are cutting me in half.” My body felt like toothpaste squeezing out of the tightest tube in the world. I pulled at the unrelenting waistband of my too small jeans.

“Buy bigger pants,” Mom, the queen of common sense, said.

“Do I look big?” I said. I fumbled with my fork, pushed the cheese off of my chicken. “You look terrific. How about those Not Your Daughter’s Jeans? We can shop for them tomorrow,” Mom said. She looked at me with her blue-gray eyes. I understand how much moms cherish the spare moments when they feel needed by their stubbornly independent daughters now that I have one of my own.

“I don’t know,” I said,“I’m afraid if I size up, I’ll never get back to my smaller size again.”

“You’ve had a busy year. You need some give and take in your life,” Mom said. She pointed her fork at me like a magic wand and said,“You need Lycra.”

Mom and I went shopping the next day. I found comfy, body-hugging, flattering jeans at White House | Black Market. Dark blue with a little bling on the pockets, and 2 percent Lycra woven into the denim.

I stopped the tight-waist-band-ill-fitting-jeans-self-flogging, and relaxed into my extra weight.

My life got big. So what? Bigger jeans for my big life.