Teenager in the Tank Top

Dear Teenage Girl in the Tank Top,

I know I stared while our paths crossed on the bike trail today. I’m sorry. But you’re just so young and perky that I couldn’t help myself. Your hair was in a perfect, high ponytail, your tank top was pristine and pink and your shorts actually matched your tank top. As we rode by you smiled at us. You looked so serene.

I wanted to kick your teeth in.

I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re a really nice girl. But you matched while working out for goodness sakes! Your hair looked like you just got done at the salon! There wasn’t an ounce of fat on you! You were so young! You were ALONE! I just couldn’t help my rage.

I felt so frumpy and old in that moment. In my 2008 Obama t-shirt covered with paint stains and my two-sizes too big sweatpants, I’m sure I looked just peachy. My very cool bike helmet helped too, I’m sure. The fact that I was pulling about 100 lbs. in a bike trailer didn’t help my image either. When I was your age, I never had dinner-plate-size sweat rings under my arms when I worked out either; I swear. That is, apparently, something else that comes with age. Isn’t it wonderful?

After you passed, I got a little melancholy. I know it sounds stupid. It was only two minutes. But I just couldn’t help it. I think back to when I was your age and I just didn’t realize how much things would change. I didn’t soak in the awesomeness that it is being 18 or 19 and rollerblading alone and looking cute. I hope you do. I can’t even remember what I used to do with myself before kids, before becoming a grown-up. When I had a whole Saturday to myself, what did I do? And why, oh why, was I wasting all that time thinking I was fat? I should have been rollerblading in my bikini. Seriously. It’s ridiculous. So I guess you just reminded me of my youth and how I didn’t revel in it. I should have. I hope you do.

After feeling old and frumpy and melancholy for a little while, I got to thinking. When I was your age and rollerblading on the bike trail by myself, I used to see Moms like me, pulling one kid behind them in the trailer, following closely behind another on a bike trainer and another riding all by himself, and smile. Because I wanted that one day. I wanted to be a Mom and go for bike rides with them and my gorgeous husband and enjoy the day. I don’t remember thinking any of the Moms I saw were old or frumpy or needed to spend more time working on their triceps. I just remember thinking they looked happy. And I wanted that.

Guess what? I got it. I have three beautiful kids and a gorgeous husband and we’ve been enjoying bike rides almost every day. I am ridiculously happy in my life. I’ve pretty much gotten everything I’ve ever wanted. Who cares if I’m not as young or as thin or as cute as I used to be? I need to stop berating myself because I’m sure my 50-year-old self will yell at me someday for squandering so much time worrying about the size of my ass, right?

Thank you teenager in the tank top. Thank you for reminding me to get over myself already. Because I’ve got it pretty good.

Frumpy Mom Riding a Bike

P.S. Next time if you could just spill some coffee on your tank top, or have a big hunk of spinach in your teeth, that would just make my day. Thanks.


18 responses to “Teenager in the Tank Top

  1. Hilarious and so stinkin’ true! Loved how this post started frustrated and ended with some perspective. Now if I can borrow some of it. I am at the same point in my life. Overwhelmed, underappreciated, but a little sick of myself for not just living in the moment a little more. I need to stop complaining about what I don’t have and enjoy what I do. 3 beautiful kids, a husband who works hard so I can be home to raise our kids, and wonderful friends and family. Rollerblading in the bikini will have to wait until I am 50!

  2. so true…in every way!! we can’t live in the past. we’ve gotta embrace what we have in the right now. even if our “right now” includes dinner plate sweat rings under our arms 😉

  3. Almost spit out my coffe when you said “I wanted to kick your teeth in.” That was too funny! Another great reflection on life and how we should enjoy it…and all the little things that make us who we are.
    Hope Matt had a great b-day!

  4. LOVE THIS. Great way to start my week. Thanks for the perspective Tiff!

  5. You are so stinkin’ cute, you just don’t even know.

  6. This post is so great and so very true!

  7. Kelli Harshman

    You are young, thin, and as cute as can be!!! All with a great outlook on life that you are so willing to share with others. Thank you!!

  8. I love this. I so regret all those years of lamenting my ‘fat’ body all through my teens and twenties. But you know? Like you, I wouldn’t trade what I have now for the body I had then. I’m pretty darned lucky these days, big butt and all.

  9. hahahahaha!!! Tiff I can totally relate, you think you don’t care until you see that really cute girl and then you are like “ohhh shoot, what was I thinking leaving the house like this?” but then you realize all the great things you have in your life and how you wouldn’t change a thing… even if your frumpalicious clothes!!! I have been there too! This post is so true, and I am sure every woman can relate. I think you have a pretty good life too! You seem so happy, you seem to have such a successful marriage, and you have beautiful children!!! That is all you need in this life!

  10. Love this! Busted out laughing now just sitting back feeling happy with where Im at. Life keeps getting better and better!!

  11. Love this! I rather enjoy bike riding past the sweet older couples that take evening walks on our bike path and hope that someday we look like them. I have what I want right now and I look forward to what they have.
    If I see the girl in the cutsie workout clothes I promise to spill my not skinny latte on her (but only a little cuz’ I do love my lattes!) because that’s how much I love you 🙂

  12. One day she’ll have stretch marks, too. That makes it easier. A little.

  13. when I was in college I actually set my class schedule around the aerobics classes….and I’d go to class positively bouncing in my leotard with my pert little bottom on display….
    can you even imagine? ha!


  15. Okay – I’ll be honest. I have to match when I’m running too. Although I’m not perky and young and I do have ounces of fat on me, it irks me when I don’t match. Also…..(hangs head in shame here) I have to match brands. Meaning if I’m wearing Nike, my hat is Nike. If I’m wearing Under Armour, my hat is UA. …….I know, I know……

  16. I so understand! Why do we never appreciate ourselves at the time? I look back at myself and say, “Why did you think you were ugly?” I do not know. When we are in our sixties, will we do the same for our 30s and 40s?


  17. I think back to my teenage years and how I never thought my body would change.

    Your post is a good reminder to embrace what you have at every moment. Thanks for the reminder.

  18. heather petersen

    Good post. I second the stretch mark comment, as well as not so perky boobies. 😉

Leave a Reply to McKinley Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s