“butts are in!” she said, as i walked out of the fitting room and pirouetted in front of the three-way mirror, studying my reflection and the new jeans i had tried on. “good thing,” i said, off on a rant, bemoaning menopause catching up to me. sitting on one of those man-benches outside the fitting room, david laughed and rolled his eyes. buying jeans is one of the worst undertakings for a girl, i told him. it just isn’t easy. nothing about it is easy. no matter what age you are. there is so much to think about, so much to worry about. david said it seems much more complicated than “boysbuyingjeans.” ha! the understatement of the century, eh?
momma looked at me many times, straight in the eye, and worriedly said, “i looked in the mirror today and i was shocked to see an old woman! i look like an old woman!” goodness gracious, momma, you were 93! momma had every single right to look like an old woman. matter of fact, she was the most beautiful old woman i have ever seen. all those amazing wrinkles she earned through life, those eyes that have seen so much, the laugh lines around her mouth, the easy smile, that look that could stop all motion, the little scars- the one she got from playing field hockey, the one she got from a golf outing. beautiful. beautiful. beautiful.
recently scordskiii wrote to me that he is “always slightly baffled by the extreme nip/tuck stuff going on with 50-something women.” the pressure of looking “good”, the worry of not looking “old”. he continued, “there is something to be said for growing old gracefully…hell, it’s a gift when growing old is an option…bring on the wrinkles!”
every time we walk past linda’s house she stops us and cuts flowers for us, sending us home with armfuls of stunning blooms. we protest, saying that she is cutting too many, that she should save them for herself or not cut them. she always shoos away our protest, hugs us and sends us on our way. they are there to cut, she says. to be enjoyed. she is not worried about what she has cut or what she has left in her flower garden. she is embracing the beauty of the flowers she can share. we are grateful. for the flowers and the hugs. she doesn’t worry about the wrinkles it leaves in her garden.
the other night we sat on the edge of the deck. it was twilight. the air was still. little sun was left in the sky. we could hear the birds readying for the night. in the distance we could hear the foghorn. we held hands. and sat. quietly. then we let dogdog out. he ran rampant around the backyard, his joyful smile leading the way through the hostas. at first i cringed, thinking about all the hours this backyard has taken and how quickly his aussie body can make it look – well – pretty wrinkled. but what would life be like without his exuberance? what would it be like perfectly perfect? the trade-off would be huge…like botox for life, not just cosmetic. shaving off the highs and lows, the spectrum would narrow, maybe even to a point of comfortable predictability. but who wants that anyway?
last december, at some random moment, momma called. after saying hello she said she called to tell me something. i waited, held my breath and listened. “live life, my sweet potato,” she said. “live life.” i exhaled.
on sunday he said, “do not worry about life. instead, drink it in.”