By Elizabeth Thompson
Ask me how old I am...go ahead...ask me!
**smiling in gratitude and turning towards husband**
"Um...what is it...this year?"
No lie! I stopped counting a long time ago, but -- I don't mean to sound flippant – I really have to stop (and think) about “exactly” how old I am. Truth be told, I too preoccupied with observing each of my children’s achievements (and a fair share of setbacks, to boot) -- i.e., loose teeth, defeating playground bullies, another undefeated soccer season, a first dance, first period(s) and promotions to the next plane – so, I’m having a hard enough time facing the fact that they are growing up so darn fast…let alone trying to keep up!
And the weird thing is, as my children grow older, I appear to be getting…you know…younger.
Okay, sounds Reader’s Digest and all, but I swear that my children have a way of bringing out…well…the kid in me.
I rolled on the floor and banged on pots and pans with them as babies; sculpted with clay, packed holiday treats and made pretties with them as preschoolers; I have recently learned to roller blade, battled Yu-Gi-Oh and fumbled with Bioncles; I traded in my “hope chest” for “rememberie boxes” and most of my Victoria Secret lingerie to be used for dress-ups and family productions held in our living room; and I have designed (and proudly displayed) works of art in both mediums of crayon and marker.
“You are the coolest, most, funniest Mom!”
Those are the 7 words (in addition to “Congratulations, you have just won the lottery!”) I have lived most of my mommy life…to hear.
Then I looked in the mirror the other morning and felt as if I were staring at a stranger.
Her eyes were way puffier, the lines imbedded on her forehead were much deeper, than mine and there was darkness there, too. Her eyebrows were heavy and her mouth was creased (and beginning to turn down slightly at the edges) suggesting that she was not accustomed to smiling, without effort.
What happened to her? It was obvious that the coolest, most, funniest mom had simply been overcome by life and, quite frankly, she looked old and visibly…used up.
I couldn’t stand the sight of her.
Not caring much for needles (not to mention finding myself typically short on funds) Botox and day spas were not an immediate option So, I took hold of the tweezers, pulled the bath towel tighter and began to yank, cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize and tint the bitch away.
I was feeling better (and looked pretty good, by the way) the next day, but not until I walked into my brother’s house and saw his smiling face, did I start to feel like my old…I mean…most-funniest self, again.
The kids and I gently kissed him hello, told him how glad we were that he was finally home from the hospital and they all gasped when I asked him, “Can I see the scars!?!”
“Eww, Mom…you are sooo gross!”
**looking at each other**
“Can we see the scars…too…Uncle Bud!?!”
Later, Thing One and Mini-me were deep into computer games and I took Little Man and Thing Two out to the courtyard so that they could burn up some energy on their scooters.
My brother watched through the sliding glass doors as the kids showed him their new tricks. He smiled and waved, but quickly grew tired and went back into the living room.
“Where’d Uncle Bud, go?”
My brother’s brush with cancer was a sobering reminder (for all of us) of just how fragile life can be and -- even at an imposing six foot four and in top physical condition for most of his life -- his nieces and nephew were beginning to question “our” mortality. In light of the fact that we will be celebrating our 42nd birthday this month -- not to mention how close I came to losing my twin brother -- perhaps trading in a few “candles” for more “cake”…can be a good thing!
Little Man slowed and Thing Two stopped about a foot away from where I was standing.
“Hey, can Mommy try?”
Thing Two looked a little surprised at first and cautiously handed me her scooter. I placed my right foot on, carefully tried to find my center, and then slowly pushed off with my left foot.
“Wow! Check you out, Mom…you are the coolest!”
Yep. I glided and turned and flipped my way around and back through the courtyard -- while my children celebrated “the cleverness of me” -- which peeked some of the neighbors’ curiosity.
One man in particular, whistled as I began to pedal (or whatever it’s called with a scooter) faster and felt as if I were floating on air. He placed his cigarette in his mouth, gave a round of applause and I truly felt like…you know…the old girl was back!
I caught a glimpse of Thing Two waving her hands, pointing towards her chest and mouthed something with this totally stunned look on her face!
**smacking forehead with hand and shouting**
I looked down at my hoodie, saw that the zipper had indeed worked its way downward and that my black lace bra was now fully exposed for the entire world to see.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, she’s baaa-ack! And I am feeling as young, vibrant, and thankful to be alive -- not to mention utterly exposed -- as evuh!
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