If you ask, “John, where is your bellybutton?” he’ll lift his little shirt up and point to his bellybutton.
Lately, he’s become interested in finding other people’s bellybuttons. If you’re sitting on the ground, he’ll likely saunter over, lift your shirt, and give your bellybutton a little poke. Aunts, grandparents and friends that have visited recently have all received a poke in the navel.
It is, in a word, hysterical. And precious.
The first time John tried looking for my bellybutton was comical. He was sitting next to me, shirt up, staring at his belly. Then, he flipped to face me and lifted my shirt to poke my bellybutton. But, much to his surprise, he didn’t find one.
It’s not that I don’t have one. I do. But after carrying the weight of two babies, it just isn’t located where it used to be.
I pulled this sagging skin out from my leggings and showed him my bellybutton.
“There it is!” I laughed.
He smiled and gave it a little poke. He then proceeded to tug and stretch this skin of mine. Soon after his brother joined, and my stomach became a Play-Doh-style sensory activity.
It didn’t hurt. Truthfully, I didn’t feel anything. My nerves have not yet healed from being stretched beyond what is possible.
As they played, I laughed and told them how, once upon a time, they lived in this tummy. The bellybuttons that we love to poke are what connected them to mommy. The three of us grew and grew and grew together. And when I didn’t think I could possibly stretch anymore, the three of us grew some more.
The mere fact that skin is elastic and maintains the capacity to stretch is proof enough that bodies are not meant to remain the same. They grow and change with us, allowing us to adapt and adjust, transforming into new versions of ourselves that thrive within life’s different seasons.
Our bodies share our stories-tattoos, holes from piercings, scars from lessons learned, broken bones-my droopy tummy is part of my story. It’s proof of my two greatest achievements.
Having to tuck my bellybutton into my pants is a small price to pay for two beautiful humans-don’t you think?