Sunday, May 23, 2010

Back to the Bottle Again

I smiled as I sat on the grassy edge of the soccer field watching my son and his buddies chase the ball all over, occasionally seeing it end up in the goal (usually due to defensive error or goalie mishap). But it was a great moment. Until...

My husband, who was standing next to me also enjoying the human herd, looked down and commented with a pleasant but matter-of-fact tone, "Hey, I never noticed all those GRAY hairs you've got." (BTW, it must be mentioned that he was actually smiling sweetly as he said this.)

My immediate thoughts were (in this order) . . . No, he did NOT just say that! Then Oh crap, it IS that obvious! Followed by Wonder how soon I can get in to see my hair lady?!? Ending with Hhhmmm, surely he does not plan on seeing this gray-haired woman's naked body tonight?

I sat there stunned, analyzing my feelings about his revelation (of course, this was not new info to me because I had stopped highlighting my hair months ago, and I noticed that those blonde streaks I had been adding for so long not only helped me cling onto the image of my younger self, but they also provided the added benefit of blending the random grays that I previously did not know existed in such growing numbers.)

What sucks even more about my new hair nemeses is the fact that my husband has his own little evidence of getting older. He is blessed with the prettiest light gray streak right in the front of his hair. Women who are trying to "grow old gracefully" pay big for that look. And he gets it naturally. Can you believe that?!?

So this is the guy, not the first to notice, I am sure, just the first with the ill-fortune of pointing it out to me. His next line was even better, for when he saw my look of horror from his comment, he quickly said, "No, I think it looks good! It's kinda like highlights, don't you think?"

No, dearest, it absolutely is not!
A for effort. F for execution. Trust me, my grays add no aesthetic quality to my tresses. He could not say anything to make it better.

Perhaps I would not have been so deflated at his poorly-chosen proclamation had my daughter with peachy-perfect skin not been recently connecting the "cool red polka dots" on my belly. I later learned these are cherry angiomas, yes, scarlet age spots resulting from overexposure to the sun--my curse from my cuter, tanner bikini years.

It's been a few weeks since that soccer practice and belly game. Since then I've admitted to myself that I can't blame my husband or anyone else for my dulling do or sinister spots. I was being overly sensitive about the inevitable. I am getting older. I can squint when I'm in front of the mirror to blur the view of my eye wrinkles. I can dollop layers of lotion crammed full of collagen from tip to toe. My body is aging. I get some solace (but not much) from the new (but pretty ridiculous) saying that "40 is the new 30." But, hey, I'll take it, despite the fact that the words don't erase crows' feet.

And I've decided the next time one of my curious family members wants to innocently inquire about the tiny lines forming on my calves, rather than putting fresh linens on the guest bed and serving brussel sprouts for dinner, I plan to take a deep breath, smile big, and glance at my husband's gorgeous gray streak and admire my children's supple skin before announcing, "Spider veins, guys. My hair colorist says they're all the rage!"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Taking the Long Way

I've been accused that I can be a bit overprotective of my children in certain areas. In fact, my husband snickers whenever the kids and I sing one of my remixes of a classic tune where I have slightly altered the lyrics in order to get a result I like. (WHO STICKS A BABY IN A CRADLE IN A FRICKIN' TREE ANYWAY?!?) I've shared with my husband and others, that I am not trying to shelter my kids. But I occasionally steer away from some subjects till I am ready to best address my children's questions. I want them to ask me anything they want to. I want them to learn about life, but, yes, there are topics that I'm still trying to figure out as an adult before having to explain them to my learning little ones.

A few weeks ago we were headed off to school and my four-year-old noticed something in the road, not moving. "Look, Mommy! That turtle is slooooooooow."

My daughter leaned closer toward her little brother's window and said,"Um, I don't think that's a turtle. It's got some fur left. Maybe long ears? And it's not moving at all. Mommy, what was that?"

Crap. Our first real and very close-up roadkill sighting. Couldn't it have been something less cute?!? I glanced in my rear view mirror at the squashed bunny. Here goes, I sighed...

I gave a brief explanation of how sometimes animals are not as fast as cars. Both kids asked many good follow-up questions, particularly curious about the family the rabbit left behind. They seemed a little sad, but by the time we arrived at my daughter's school, they both seem satisfied with our talk. There were some questions in the days to come--mostly about dying. Again, they seemed to accept my answers.

Just two minutes into our jogging stroller run this morning, my son spotted something in the road up ahead. "WHAT IS THAT?" he yelled. I could see from 50 feet away that it was a dead animal. After we passed the mangled marsupial (veering as far away as I safely could), we went at least a mile with my son asking questions about the smashed critter. Thankfully, he moved on to math when he spotted several numbered mailboxes. (Geez, how many questions can you answer about one dead animal?)

On the way back up the hill, I could see the even flatter remnants of the opossum. I braced myself for more questions. Instead my son offered five plausible reasons as to why the opossum was killed in the street. My favorite being "he didn't have enough energy to go fast because he needed a healthy snack."

What I am realizing about some of these tough topics that must and will be addressed in my journey of parenthood and my children's life learning is that if you give your kids the support, open communication, and opportunity to explore their world, they'll come up with their own thoughtful explanations and conclusions about life. I don't have to have all of the answers. And sometimes it's probably better that I don't.

In fact, kids often have the best ones. As we neared the opossum the second time my son suggested we not drive right through it because that would be too bloody and gross--instead we should "just go around it." I'm glad to see that not only has my veering strategy been passed down to my son, but even happier to know he's managed to make it look like it's actually the smart thing to do sometimes.