Thursday, April 25, 2013

On Having 5 Chins

I spent some time on my parents' farm this month while my husband was off on business.  It was nice to be out in the country, to play with the girls in wide open spaces...and even to raid my parents' cupboards and overdosing on Boy Meets World reruns while the girls napped.

But one of my favorite things turned out to be looking through old photos that dated back to before my time. I had forgotten how crazy skinny my father was and I got to tease my mother for wearing shorts waaaay shorter than I ever would have gotten away with.

Why does everyone in old photos look more glamorous?  Is it something in their dress (though these were mostly quite casual pictures) or demeanor?  Or is it just the passing of time makes lost youth glow brighter?  Either way, I couldn't tear my eyes from photos of my parents, their siblings, and their playmates of old.

So what does this have to do with having 5 chins?  While on the same trip, my mom took this picture of me with the girls:

Baby carrier + zipped up coat = ridiculousness

Now, it's a silly photo.  I mean, the whole thing looks ridiculous, but it was necessary due to the weather (thank you, Minnesota).  People yukked it up because it's funny, but when I saw the photo, this is what I saw...

I feel like there should be dramatic villain music playing...

And it bothered me.  It always bothers me.

Hello, my name is Michelle Jorgenson, and I have 5 chins.

So I brooded and sulked and made twenty different diet and exercise plans before I remembered that I'm nursing and are my chins really more important than giving life to this baby who depends on me for her daily nourishment?

Plus I brought it up to the Professor and looking at the picture, squinting, he says, "Oh yeah.  Well, you kinda had that even in our wedding photos, didn't you?  Not much or anything, but even at your thinnest, you still had a little extra chin.  It's not fat, it's just...chin."  And this began a ten minute comparison of chin flesh between the two of us.

I've been trying to find my "angles" that most minimize my chins in photos.  During our engagement photos our photographer would yell out for me to change my smile because of my chins (he literally used the words "your" and "chins"), which was slightly rude but effective.  Still, he's not around for the everyday, average snapshot.

So what's a girl to do?  Forever hide from the camera?

And now you're asking, does this tie into the original story about the old photos?  Because I realized I was never counting chins or bat wings.  I was looking at laughter, not counting laugh lines.

And if I hide forever from the camera, what pictures will my daughters look at of me one day?  How will they laugh at my silly clothes or gasp at how awful our furniture was (it's not, but boy were there some doozies in my folks' pictures!) if I never let the lens capture me as I am, in the here and now?

And what will it tell them about their own bodies and beauty and worth if they learn that there are no pictures of Mama because she was afraid of her chins?

Yes, I still have a bit of baby weight to lose (why doesn't it melt off so easily after baby #2?), but in the end, the chins are here to stay most likely.  They are part of my face, part of my God-given body, part of the woman my husband fell in love with, and part of the smile that shines on my children.

They are mine and I'll own them.

But I'll probably still try to find my best angles.


  1. Michelle, I love this post. Honestly, I didn't notice "the chin" in the picture until you brought it up. All I thought was, "Oh what an adorable mama and her babies - LOVE!!" You have a wise perspective, and someday your girls WILL treasure these photos, because of the love there mama has for them. :) -Sara

  2. I was trying to count and came to the conclusion that everyone thinks worse of themselves than they ought:) Just own that chin....looks normal to me!:)

    1. You're so right; we're a lot harder on ourselves than anybody else! Thanks for stopping by!


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