I’m back and feeling more middleaged than ever. Awhile ago, I was saying how when other middleaged women talk about feeling old, I always think, “But I still feel like I’m 30,” or some such superior thing. Well, my body has betrayed me. Still, I would FAR rather be middleaged than a 15-year-old girl again. More on that in a minute.
Quick shift of focus: when someone states to the world at large that basically God commanded her to sit her butt down and write her blog, you’d think she would actually comply (“She” being “me.”) But instead, I spent another month sitting on my butt doing other things, thinking about writing, and then not writing. (In my defense, I really have had to do other things. Like work. And, you know, read good books…*) But last night, I had a conversation with Lizzie (15 yrs old-here’s the last one) and I realized: Oh my God, I am SO glad I do not have to go through all of this again!
Lizzie: Mama, I’m really stressed about school. I have a presentation tomorrow in English and I got a B-plus on my report card and (insert boy’s name here – let’s call him K.) is driving me crazy and I really want to get into the musical, and (insert different boy’s name here, we’ll call him T.) keeps talking to me and I don’t know what to do about it, and I have a lot of homework.
Me [reading between the lines]: Is this more about boy trouble than school?
Me: So what’s the problem?
Liz: I don’t know what to say to boys. They talk to me.
Me: Do you like any of them?
Me: Then isn’t it a good thing they’re talking to you?
Liz: No! I’d rather worship from afar.
Me: What do you say when they talk to you?
Liz: Nothing. I walk away.
Me: You just, like, walk away in the middle of a conversation?
Liz: It’s not a conversation. It’s just them walking up to me and me walking away. Today I did talk to a guy, though. I told him he looked tan, and he turned around and pulled down his pants and showed me his tan line! On his butt! What am I supposed to say to that?
Me: What DID you say?
Liz [irritated]: Nothing! I walked away.
Me: So, he turned around to show you his butt, and when he turned back around, you were gone?
Me: Okay, next time he talks to you, try to have just one exchange with him before you walk away.
Liz: But I’m so awkward!
Me: You can’t be that awkward.
Liz: Yeah. I can. The first time a boy asked me out in seventh grade, I said, “No habla Ingles.” And walked away.
Liz: And the other day, a guy asked me for my Snapchat, and I told him I didn’t have one. And walked away.
Me: DO you have one?
Liz: Yes. And I was on Snapchat at the time. Quite obviously. Which is why he asked for it in the first place.
Liz: Right? And once I was in English, and the teacher was talking about the play we’re going to do, and I said, “The only reason I want to be in the play is to kiss hot guys.” And then for some reason I turned my head and I stared directly into the eyes of the hot guy sitting next to me.
Me: Did he see you?
Liz: Mom, we locked eyes.
Me: So, you like some boys, they seem to like you because they talk to you, but you wish they wouldn’t talk to you? And when they do talk to you, you walk away. But they keep talking to you. Have I got it straight?
Liz: Yes. And yesterday one boy winked at me! What am I supposed to do with that?
Me: Smile at him?
Liz: No. Look away.
Me: You’re like Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink.”
Me: Never mind. Wrong era. Anyway, just try to say one thing to the guy before you walk away.
Liz: Like what?
Me: I don’t know. How about, “What’s up?”
Liz: Too hard. Another time when someone asked me out, I literally just walked away without saying anything. And he had to text my friend to ask, like, “What the heck?”
Me: You’ll get better at this.
Liz: I will never get better at this. I’m too awkward. Why do they have to even talk to me?
Me: Because you’re funny and smart and beautiful.
Liz: You have to say that. You’re my mother.
Me: In addition to your amazing and magnetic personality, you have an adorable haircut, changeable blue-gray eyes, lips “as red as blood.” Hey, you’re like Snow White. But blonde.
Liz [raising one eyebrow]: I don’t look like that.
Me: So what DO you think you look like?
Liz: A potato.
Me: A WHAT?
Me: God. I’m going to bed. Wait, what about K?
Liz: K’s great. We text all the time.
Me: So why can you text him and not other guys?
Liz [like her mother is clearly the dumbest person in the world]: Because I don’t like him.
Me: But you’re friends?
Liz: Right. But I can’t be friends with other guys.
Liz: Because I like them! God!
Me: I am so glad that I never, ever, ever have to be a 15-year-old girl again.
Liz [sighing]: Yeah. Once I spit water on M and I fell off my chair and onto the floor in front of B. Seriously, Mom. Be thankful.
So, my friends: My sinus headaches haven’t fully gone away and now the doctor thinks they may be migraines or some shit called “mid-facial segment pain” (surely he made that up). I have tendinitis in my shoulder and elbow so in the morning, in order to turn off my alarm, I have to use my right arm to lift up my left arm. And my eyes! They’ve gone so bad so quickly that I’m buying reading glasses at an alarming rate (soon I’ll have enough reading glasses but not enough money to buy books to read). I clench my jaw and sometimes it’s so tense I find myself jutting it out like a bulldog. And sometimes I look in the mirror and think poorly of myself – that I’m sort of roundish and middleaged and dumpy and…like a potato! But not always…
Lesson learned: There are drawbacks to not being youthful and flexible and elastic. But there are super amazing benefits, too. I am wiser. I can look in the mirror and accept that yesterday I felt pretty and sexy and today I feel like a potato and tomorrow I’ll feel cute and the next day I’ll feel sophisticated. I can enjoy days filled with laughter and then commiserate with friends during days of tears, and realize that both those kinds of days have great value. I can laugh at myself when I fall while snowboarding and pee my pants just a little. And I can shake my head at myself (but lovingly) when I tell a complete stranger on the gondola that I fell down and peed.
So, when you can, revel in your age and wisdom. Mourn your youth a bit, maybe, but don’t stay stuck there. Celebrate your current wisdom and growth. And be thankful that you’re not a 15-year-old girl.
Til next time.