The UnGlamorous Mom

I bought a curling iron two years ago, but never had time to figure out how to use it. So it stayed in the packaging until last night. A move to a new hair stylist, who showed me how to curl my hair, inspired me to try before a series of holiday parties this week. I am 48. It’s about time I put some effort into looking a little polished.

But I just may not be meant to curl.

I grabbed the wrong end of the hot iron. Holy….!!

Fortunately, I had not waited long enough for it to heat totally up, as my error would have left me without a love line, lifeline, basically the palm print of my entire right hand.

It only hurt a lot for a few seconds. But I soldiered on.

Curled the first clump of hair four or five times, creating a tangled mess.

Gave up on that.

Tried curling the strands framing my face. Not a curl to be cued. They formed a 90-degree angle just below my ear. Pippi Longstockings without the braids…

… and minor burns.

Sigh. I brushed out the tangles and right angles, and went to the party my usual straight-haired self.

I’ll try a little lip gloss tonight. How dangerous can that be?

A Long, Long Time

Tonight, my twelve year old said, “I have a question about something that is really weird.”


“When you have your birthday, you will be 48 years old. That’s four times as old as me.”

Here we go.

“What does it feel like?”

“Creaky,” I responded, suddenly grumpy.

“I mean twelve years feels like a really, really long time. It must feel strange to live as long as you have.”

So I told him that it feels like you have led a few back-to-back separate lives, each as a totally different person with the others wrapped inside of you somehow. The first eighteen, then college and the twenties, then kids. It’s like it wasn’t you before, even though the previous you made you who you are now… and you remember every minute as if it just happened. Like you are still twelve. Not four times that.

“That’s so weird.”

“I know.”

Domestic Guilt

I brought our broken vacuum cleaner into a small, dark shop after making a challenging left across traffic on my least favorite street.

“I think the belt is broken,” I said.

The elderly gentleman sniffed as he examined it. “This certainly needs servicing.”

Even the guy working in the vacuum cleaner repair shop has the power to make me feel guilty!

“And it desperately needs to be cleaned.”


“You realize you should bring your vacuum cleaner in at least every five years to be serviced?”

“Then it is about that time,” I chirped. Why so snotty?

“When a belt is broken, it is not just the belt. But this is a good vacuum cleaner,” hinting, it seemed, that I do not deserve such a thing given its poor state. “It is worthwhile to fix it.”

The vacuum cleaner and I are salvageable!

“I will call you in a few days to let you know what I think.”

Or not?

Dressing Up Mom

If my boys are telling me a story or joke, they will follow me all over the house to tell it to me. Yesterday they followed me into my closet, and while one was telling the joke, the other was looking at my clothes.

“This does not look like you,” said the nine year old, tugging at a brightly colored collared shirt.

“That’s because it isn’t. I just bought it so I can try a golf lesson.”

“It’s more Dad.”

“That’s because he plays golf.”

The joke his brother was telling ended, and the two of them kept going through my clothes.

“You pretty much look like a dork except when you wear dresses,” the ten year old informed me, touching a casual red one he has commented on before.

“Like this one. You should wear this one a lot.” Every time I wear a dress, the one who just called me a dork tells me I look really pretty and gives me a big hug. I always imagined he knew that dressing up is hard for me, and I need a thumbs-up before I go out into the world that way. Nope.

They found some of my fancier dresses, not worn since my early thirties when I still had friends who were having weddings.

“Wow, you never wear this. You should wear this!” I loved that dress when I bought it before having three kids.

And about a cream colored one, “Is this your wedding dress? Wear this!”

“Not my wedding dress, but it is fancy,” I explained. “I don’t have anywhere to wear it.”

“You should wear it out to dinner!”

“I would need to go somewhere really fancy.”

“Then Dad should take you somewhere really fancy.”

“But we don’t like fancy food.”

“Oh, mom! Just wear the dress.”

And then they were off, leaving me alone in my closet to ponder why two boys whose clothes rarely match want their mom to look like a princess.

Particularly Undesirable Birthdays

As you approach a birthday you are dreading, ignore the voice in your head that pretends you want to hide, lay low, and make it like any other day.

It is not. It is your birthday. And if you refuse to acknowledge it, in all its glory, you may end up feeling… well… old.

Typically, I have no problem with birthdays. They are an excuse to be a princess, kick back a little, go out, and do something fun.

Not so at forty-six.

Forty-six is dangerously close to 50. My skin doesn’t glow. My knees ache when I run. And construction workers don’t even look up when I walk by.

So at 46, I was feeling unusually grumpy about my birthday. I made no special plans for that day or evening.

Big mistake. “I am 46, I am 46, I am 46, I am 46” reverberated even louder, because it was not balanced out with “and we get to go out tonight!”

So I have a new game plan.

1) For the week leading up to my birthday, I am going to remind everyone it is coming. Instead of me hearing “I am 47, I am 47, I am 47,” all my friends will. That will translate into a bunch of fun emails and calls on the big day, and I will be grateful that the day was mine even if all the self-PR is obvious and slightly tacky.
2) I will celebrate myself by doing something that makes me happy: a hike or a long day by the pool with a book.
3) I will go out to dinner with anyone who will come with me – my husband, the kids, my parents, my sisters, my friends, or even their kids. It does not matter who or where, but I will not cook or do dishes ever again on July 16.
4) I will polish my toenails. Nail polish makes feet look younger. Or at least it says that the old lady with the pretty toes is young at heart and can still bend over to polish without falling on her face.

I’ve got my game on for forty-seven.

Carry On, Warrior

Please read my latest book review on Yahoo. Carry On, Warrior was part of Glennon Doyle Melton’s attempt to stay sane while being a wife, mother and recovering “everything.” She apparently got a TEDxTalk out of the deal. And she made me laugh. So as a blogger, it is a good read.