I saw her in the mirror.
I had just had a hot bath as an attempt to soothe my aching muscles and I was getting dressed in the bathroom when I caught a glimpse of my bare shoulders in the mirror but it didn’t look like me.
Something about the way I moved, unencumbered by the big winter sweaters I’ve been wearing lately, made it very obvious.
I have my oma’s body.
I’ve always been told I look like her.
My great uncle would tell me as a child that I looked like his sister.
My parents tell me I am another Alma. A couple years ago my dad woke up from a nap at my house and, in that half awake/half asleep state when you’re not entirely sure where you are, he was flashed back to his parents house. He heard his mother’s foot falls as I walked across the floor upstairs.
As I’m getting older I’m starting to see it. I have a mothers body, a middle aged body. Her body.
This was a particularly bad day for me in terms of weakness and pain and truth be told, I was crying as I got dressed in the bathroom. I felt so defeated. So worn down.
But I saw my oma’s body and I remembered what it endured.
She birthed 5 babies but only got to raise two of them.
She walked for seven months through war torn Germany, separated from her husband. She gave birth during that time while also burying her baby and her toddler.
She found her husband and moved across the ocean to live on a friend’s farm in Alberta. She lived in a barn.
She cleaned houses and banks. She raised 3 kids. She baked tortes and kuchen. She made things. (All the things.) She worked hard.
If her body carried all those pressures then surely it can carry my life now.
She was strong and this iteration of that body is strong. It will carry me through my days and it will get up again. And when it doesn’t, that’s okay too.
Physical strength is not the only kind that matters.