I NEVER SAW MY MOTHER DO A SIT-UP - By EllynAnne Geisel
1. As originally published in Chicken Soup to Inspire a Woman’s Soul 2004
I NEVER SAW MY MOTHER DO A SIT-UP
By EllynAnne Geisel
The dress was a full-length sheath the color of sweetened condensed milk, its
simplicity the perfect canvas for the hemline’s garden of hand-painted flowers. Wearing
it, I was a fashion success, and I basked in the symphony of compliments the dress
But fitting into the dress year after year was difficult, for although shapeless by
design, I had to stay in shape to wear it. Despite daily exercise, sometime between
birthdays 51 and 52, my metabolism slipped into a coma and my svelte figure, along with
my derriere, disappeared. Although I’d noticed my pants were snug at the waist and
baggy in back, it was my husband who questioned the geographic relocation of my rear.
“Where’d your butt go?” was his eloquent query.
To reveal my buttocks’ travel plan, I tried on the dress. With my head and arms
through the appropriate openings, the barometer by which I judged weight gain followed
gravity and flowed southward. But unlike in previous migrations, the dress stopped its
journey midway. Gently tugging on one side, then the other, I eased the fabric down my
hips and over my thighs. Then I looked in the closet mirror. From waist to knees, the
dress clung to what appeared to be a lunar landscape made of dough. I’d found my butt.
Determined to wear the dress to an upcoming family celebration, I immediately
began starving and sweating calories.
For several weeks, I worked-out with a variety of video partners and a thigh
gizmo (the purchase about which I was so embarrassed, I’d set the box and its packaging
in the alley by a neighbor’s trash can). I nibbled foods consistent with the rodent culture,
and sticking my nose in the Oreo package, sniffed dessert. I was miserable but
determined to fit into that dress.