Once or twice a year I go through a time of reflection. The mirror usually laughs, points a finger at me and covers my image’s mouth with its other hand. At that point I usually extend a finger at the mirror. It returns the favor and I walk away somewhat aggravated. That reflection often changes depending on the time of day and the mood I am in. But, there is always a truth to be seen. The truth of that reflection here lately is that as you get older you change, both in appearance and personality.
This is a sad truth that most folks must face in life (unless you have boo-koodles of money stashed away in some bank or beneath a mattress that you can blow on plastic surgery, as well as buying people to be your friends because you are the ultimate douche bag and can’t get friends based on your personality).
I ramble sometimes. It’s a bad habit and one I’ve never tried to break.
As I get older I’ve noticed some limitations my body has put on me. Things I used to be able to do and it not effect me then, has significant consequences now. Like not sleeping. I have never been a good sleeper, not because I like staying up to the wee hours of the night, but simply because I have never been able to sleep more than a handful of hours at a time (and a handful is not more than four). Lack of sleep catches up to me a LOT faster now than it used to.
And heat has become an issue. I’ve always been hot natured (Especially with the old temperament), but the last two summers have really kicked my behind. Gone are the days of cleaning the yard or playing basketball in hundred degree temperatures. Honestly, now when it gets over the mid-nineties I start to melt.
My body aches more now than ever. Part of it is that sleep thing—not enough rest will make the body hurt. Another part of it is wear and tear on the joints and muscles and eyes and ears and teeth and, well, the whole body. Thankfully, I’ve always had a high tolerance for pain (except for migraine pain—just let me crawl into the shadows and curl up in the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth for a few hours when one of those headaches come on). A third part of the ache issue is weight. I’m not fat (I’m just big boned) by any means, but I have noticed a little pudge in the stomach area.
Ahhhh, the joys of getting older.
But wait, there’s so more.
To go with the physical issues, there are the personal issues, one of which was pointed out to me recently and I’m not sure it was intentional. I think this is also the reason for this post today.
My daughter, a lovely redhead with a temper that rivals her daddy’s, wanted to ‘do my hair.’ I could just see me with my hair parted to one side with pigtails or braids (however small they would have been) jutting out all over the place. At first I balked. Here is issue one: in the past I would have just said okay, go ahead. My daughter has painted my finger and toenails in the past, donned my not so lovely face with all sorts of make up (I don’t see how you women use that stuff—I felt dirty for the few minutes I wore it) and ‘done my hair,’ with barrettes and rubber bands and even one of those little plastic hair band things (you know, the ones like Thelma wore in the Scooby Doo cartoons). We’ve played dress up and make up and beauty shop plenty of times in the past. Why was this so different? Because I’m older? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s because I’ve changed.
Let me continue with the story.
“Daddy, can I do your hair/” asks the redhead with the blue eyes, sporting a broad ‘how can you say no to this face’ smile.
Her old man, sitting in a dark blue and somewhat brown checked seat glances up at her, frowns. He actually frowns. He does. How sad… “I don’t know,” he responds.
“Please?” There’s that smile again. Added to this smile are the puppy dog eyes and the batting of the lashes.
“Okay, but not for long.”
Seriously? (<– Key word here to be noted now for later use.) Not for long? How long are you supposed to play? Is there a time limit or minimum that has been set for these things?
The little girl, all smiles at this point, pulls out a brown wooden box. Inside are these things called Silly Bands. If you haven’t heard of them, then there are NO children in your life, be it your own or someone else’s. Silly Bands are, essentially rubber bands that are made into all sorts of shapes. You put them on your wrist and they look like any other rubber band—a circle. However, when you take them off, they revert back to their original shape. I had no clue these Silly Bands had a duel purpose: hair bands (and no, not the eighties metal groups).
Daddy doesn’t have a ton of hair, so when she starts pulling on it so she can get it into these Silly Bands it kind of hurts (yeah, big wuss, I know). After a few minutes and many hair tugs, pulls, yanks and her saying ‘that doesn’t look right’ she finishes.
At this point, she leaves Daddy sitting and yells for mother. THE boy, her brother, his son, holds a hand over his mouth not really trying to stifle the laughter. He runs away with her, cackling maniacally, which he does a lot. This scares me. They come back a second later and she says, “Mommy’s coming. Stay right there.”
Mommy’s coming? Hmmm… sounds like… Cripes…
In a hurry Daddy stands and leaves the room, crosses through the kitchen and meets his lovely bride just outside their bedroom. One hand is behind her back and he knows it hand holds the camera. At this point there is a friendly wrestling match to where the words, “You are NOT getting a picture of this,” are spoken.
Here is issue two: In years passed I would have let Catherine take a picture of the new ‘do.’ If for no other reason than my daughter would get a kick out of it and always have the image to prove that I let her do silly things to me.
But, why not this time? Well, I’m a writer, that’s why and I have friends I don’t wish to see such a silly image of me. And image is half of everything isn’t it? I figured this out this morning when my wife called me a ‘snob’ and (jokingly, I think) said something about my attitude toward people caring what they think about me.
Wait. What? That’s taking things a little too far. I’ve never given two cents what people think about me. I’ve always lived be a few mottos, one of which is: if you like me, fine. If not, that’s your problem. So, how dare she say something like this. I admit, I got a little miffed by the statement.
Guess what? She’s right. When did I start caring what people thought about me? I don’t remember this beginning. When did I ever say my appearance is important? I don’t recall ever saying it was. When did I become old? Apparently sometime between the age of thirty and forty. When did life get so serious for me as to be concerned with what anyone would say about something fun that I did with one of my kids? Check the last answer, put it here as well.
At the moment I sit here, slightly disheartened by this revelation and stuck in that mode of reflection. No, there isn’t a mirror in front of me, but I’m sure if I went to the bathroom and glanced into it, my image would be shaking its head. And he would have every reason to do so. As I stated earlier, as you get older, you change, both in appearance and personality. I can only shake my head to the personality thing. I don’t like the idea of being concerned with what strangers think, what someone who may or may not read something I write thinks. I don’t honestly like being concerned with what friends think of me. But, if I’m completely honest here, I do care, at least with what friends think (and that’s probably a good thing).
More importantly than caring what strangers or friends think of me, I DO care what my wife thinks, what my daughter thinks, what my son thinks.
My friend, Michelle Garren Flye, has this thing called ‘Breathing Moments’ on her website, appropriately titled ‘Breathe’ (http://michellegflye.wordpress.com/). In this she reflects on something daily in an effort to appreciate every breath of life. I find this refreshing and it may be something I start doing myself. I think my first breathing moment is going to be allowing my daughter to ‘do my hair’ and then letting them take a picture of it. If you want to see a copy of this picture, then leave a comment and I’ll make sure you (and possibly the rest of the world) get to see it.
By the way, I looked in the mirror after being assured no pictures would be taken. I looked like a white Coolio—the Weird Al version. Or so I thought. Catherine said I looked like Boo from Monsters Inc. Uhhh… really? She couldn’t have said I looked like Sully?
For now, I’m AJ and I’m out…