Mirror Image

Who is this woman and what has she done with my youth?

It was just here a minute ago.

Or did I just set it down for a moment when I was at The Alibi? The Office on the Beach?

Maybe someone will turn it in to Lost and Found.

I may have taken a wrong turn at sunbathing in baby oil and spent too much time worrying and developing a scowl.

That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

I’ve tried to take good care of myself.

The younger me didn’t know how good she had it; knees that weren’t baggy, hair that didn’t require chemical intervention at six-week intervals, a jack-rabbit metabolism, and a face free of wrinkles and age spots.

This new woman? She follows me everywhere. Shows up in restaurant bathroom mirrors, reflections in the windows at Starbucks, all those fancy-schmancy mirrors in the Crate and Barrel store.

She looks a bit tired, takes longer to rise from a seated position, and her shoes may qualify as sensible.

It’s not my mother.

Because in those Crate and Barrel mirrors today? My mom was next to me on one side; my daughter beside me on the other.

There was no denying it today.

I am in that middle place.

In the middle where you can remember being your mommy’s little girl; going out shopping together or just hanging out.

Until that was no longer cool.

In the middle where you can still see the beginnings of your own motherhood journey; still remember holding those crying little ones and rocking them ever-so-gently.

In the middle where your kids become self-sufficient, busier with their own lives, less likely to need you for something.

In the middle where I can also see forward to my own mother’s life.

Kids grown, out on their own, no longer needing to worry about daily tasks of motherhood or trivial questions like peanut butter and jelly? or pink shirt or yellow?

This woman who stalks me? She’s not half bad.

She’s got a pretty good sense of humor, as long as you don’t ask her kids. She loves her family, likes a good pizza, a nice glass of wine, and plays a mean game of Scrabble.

And since she’s not going anywhere soon? I’ve come to like her.

But I still check the Lost and Found occasionally.

To an Old Friend

Dear Body,

I am writing to let you know that you are letting me down.  You are not holding up your end of this bargain we entered into almost 46 years ago.  I am not one to shame and to blame, but here are the facts as I see them.

The skin that miraculously stretched (and then stretched some more) to accommodate baby #1 and baby #2 has decided that it will stretch no more.  Now it has decided to sag, especially around my knees.  Not that knees are very beautiful in the first place, but they are especially eye-catching when they have saggy skin on top of them.  And not in a good way.

Fine print on the television screen no longer appears as letters or numbers, but rather a squiggly, white blob.  I can squint and maybe make out a few words, but squinting contributes to other problems (see below).  A bigger television set would mean completely replacing the entertainment center….$$$$$.  I guess I could just wear my glasses, but they make me look old.  OK, look older.

My face has started to resemble a road map.  Actually, I guess it’s more of a topographical map, complete with all of the waterways and valleys.  The area around my eyes has many little rivers and tributaries, which I am sure are made worse by the squinting to make out the fine print on the television set (see above).  The valleys that extend from my nose down towards my chin are referred to by dermatologists as “parentheses”, in an attempt to make them seem more benign.  Some mornings, when I look in the mirror I expect to see a word between them, like my face has turned into an English paper.

The latest curve you have thrown at me is unruly eyebrows.  My hair is naturally wavy, which can be a good thing on top of your head.  Not on your eyebrows.  If I trim them back, I risk bald spots that will need to be filled in with pencil or sharpie pen.  If I leave them alone, they resemble what my hubby calls “Senator eyebrows”.  Look at those old guys next time you watch CNN.  You’ll see what I mean.

I have chronic bursitis/tendonitis in my hips which prevents me from running a marathon.  OK, I didn’t really want to run one anyway, but it’s easier to blame you.

Was it something I did to cause you to rebel? 

I apologize for the brief addiction to Diet Pepsi in the early 80’s, for the late nights and greasy cafeteria food in college, and for the years when I didn’t exercise at all.  I’m sorry for the hours spent by the backyard pool, sizzling myself in baby oil.  Maybe I didn’t appreciate you enough when you weren’t causing me any problems.

Is it too late for us?  Can we move forward together in partnership?  Or will I be fighting you every step of the way going forward?

I would love to be partners again and make this work out.  Speaking of working out, maybe you and I can hit the treadmill this afternoon.  Or get an iced mocha at Starbucks……