Thursday, April 29, 2010

How can you be a sage if you're pretty?  You can't get your wizard papers without wrinkles.  ~Bill Veeck

Having three grand-daughter’s is one of the greater joys in my life. When I am with them, I enjoy the blessing of viewing the world through a set of eyes not yet jaded by protocol, societal dictates, or dishonesty. They haven’t yet learned how not to tell the truth. The oldest is nine and is right on the cusp of recognizing that she fits better into her little third grade circle, at the parochial school she attends, if she tells people what she thinks they want to hear. So, it begins, and, it breaks my heart. In her younger years, wide eyed, and without malice, she called ‘em as she saw them. I could always count on her for a good dose of humility. And, her innocence has helped me to see and accept myself on several levels. Superficially, My body’s aging process is one of those areas where surrender has been a struggle, yet, a necessary part of my desire to “grow old gracefully.” I don’t really enjoy seeing the changes occurring with my body, skin, face and hair, let alone the squinting to read the fine print, or the aches and pains in my joints upon rising in the morning. Just when I think I get to a relatively happy place with what 56 year old me now looks like, my little angel, with her sweet young voice and wide-eyed expression, will question me about some physical change I would much rather ignore. The latest was when reviewing old photographs of both her mother and I, back in “the day”. After innocuously zinging her mom with some comments about her 80’s attire, which I was totally reveling in, it appeared payback time had finally arrived. My daughter’s mockeries of my 60’s attire, in years gone by, was now being redeemed. Or, so I thought. Then, my little babe in life’s woods brought me to my knees. Puzzling over a picture of a blond bombshell, Farrah Fawcett hairstyle, and bright red thong bikini, she questioned me. “Mimi (the girls nickname for stylin old granny me), who is this?” I said, “Why, that’s me.” The look of disbelief and horror that crossed her flawless little face was followed up by, “Wow, you sure were a babe back then! You wouldn’t be if you wore that today.” Zing....... Several years, earlier on a hot summer day, freshly showered and braless I came downstairs to join my baby girls who were sitting on the couch watching a Disney movie. Spreading my arms out to encircle them in a group hug, Alex (the nine year old honest one) kept glancing over at my chest. Finally, asking her what was wrong, she questioned, “Mimi, why didn’t you put your breasts on today?” What could I say? I did? Got the breasts on, they have just slipped under my arm pits? I have to confess every now and again, I do wonder what I would look like with large, taut boobs, but I fear it wouldn’t match the Rubenesque roundness of my little pillow like tummy. And, besides, I am constantly promoting woman of all ages, supporting one another and learning to love ourselves, just as we are. What kind of example would that be? I also fear, knowing me, I would expect it to dramatically change something in my life, and once the novelty of cleavage wore off, and I discovered it didn’t make me happier or more popular, I would regret it. Kind of like a tattoo. Can you imagine archaeologists thousands of years into the future, digging up these remains of women, skeletal, except for two non-biodegradable plastic orbs attached to the chest wall? What kind of society would do this to the female species and what purpose did they serve? Drug trade smuggling? Stashing the family fortune? But, it isn’t just my boobs that are changing. My youngest grand-daughter, Cameron, who is now three, was cuddling with me about a year ago. She grabbed my face and held it between her tiny hands. Staring into my eyes, she took a little finger and traced the deep furrow that runs vertically on my forehead. She asked me, “Mimi, you got a boo-boo?” Later, I got to thinking about her comment and yes, indeed, I did have a boo-boo. It was the kind of boo-boo that never goes away completely. That worry line etched into my face, was a result of agonizing over a four year, destined to fail, relationship. I earned it and every time I look in the mirror, I remember. The badge of excessive tolerance was scarred into my forehead. It is a visible reminder of that chapter of my life. Other chapters... the wide slashes on the side of my mouth reflect years of huge smiles at being with friends, hysterical laughter after seizing opportunities for daring and frolic, and the ever present grin that comes with always knowing you are loved. I love my mouth slashes! Along the sides of my chameleon colored eyes, fanning out and framing them, are tiny little embellishments that enhance the light emanating from them. I can look at the skin on my chest and arms, and those freckled spots from the delicious sun tickling my flesh, evoke memories of beaches and travels to Bermuda, The Bahamas, Capri, and the French Riviera. That is what I see when I dare to really look closely. That is how I choose to look at this rapidly changing body of mine. I want to be the wizard calling upon the magic that exists in the ordinary and I want you to see it reflected in my image. Hopefully, at the end of my days, I will have earned those wizard papers on which will be written a history of a life well lived. However, a Bobbi Brown makeover would not be refused!