Little Girl Legs


Sophie looks so old to me in this picture (taken September 1st). At first I thought it was her size compared to Owen and James. But then, on closer inspection, I think it’s her legs.

Her legs look long. And she’s wearing rolled up jean shorts, just like I did as a little girl. She has bruises and small cuts on her legs from falls, misjudged jumps, brushes against the rose bush, Tucker’s paw. Her legs are crossed, in that easy, relaxed way that comes with age. She’s now accomplished at sitting, standing, walking, running, jumping and climbing—crossing legs has become second nature to her whenever she sits down. There’s no hesitation. No wobbling. It’s a non-think act. She has toddler feet. I miss kissing them constantly. Now, when she runs, they get sweaty. They no longer smell like baby feet—they smell like little-girl-who-played-hard-outside-on-a-hot-day-in-leather-sandals feet. They smell lived in.

But I think my favorite part of her legs in this picture is how little she cares about them. She doesn’t care about her cuts and bruises (well, except when she wants an ice pack or a colorful Band-aid). She doesn’t have to shave them yet. Or moisturize them yet. She doesn’t care how big or small they are, how long or short they are, how many veins there are, how tan or pale they are, how rough or smooth her soles are. She minds when her feet are dirty (that’s just how she is) but she could care less about the dirt in her toenails. I think she would love toenail polish, if I let her know what it was and how to use it, but for now she remains blissfully ignorant. Her toes are bare.

I’m grateful for my legs and the places they take me, the body they carry, the way I can put my feet on Sophie’s stomach and use them to lift her up in the air (which always causes her to squeal).


But I hate shaving them (but also hate them not shaved). I have several webs of veins (gifts from carrying three children). I curse bruises and cuts. I take a pumice stone to my soles. My toenails have yellowed because of my constant use of dark red polish. I moisturize every day.

I love Sophie’s legs, her Little Girl Legs. I long for them. And even though she looks so much older to me in this picture, I hope, for her sake, her legs stay Little Girl Legs for a long, long time.

“We have to have faith in ourselves. I have never met a woman who, deep down in her core, really believes she has great legs. And if she suspects that she might have great legs, then she’s convinced that she has a shrill voice and no neck.” —Cynthia Heimel