I catch just a snippet of conversation.
“You need to shave what?”
“My chin,” she says. “My mother never told me I’d need to shave my chin. Our mothers need to tell us these things.”
This is a place where real comes easy. Where we can speak the unspeakable, whisper a secret.
And we laugh. Because healing lives in humor. And sharing sucks the breath from fear.
The hospice nurse, I remember she shaved stray hairs from my mom’s chin. I wouldn’t have attempted that.
After Cindy dabs hot wax beneath my eyebrows and rips, she often moves to mustache, and I cringe. Not so much from the pain of it, but from the pain of it.
I stand at the counter and survey the array of tubes and bottles. The 20-something white-lab-coated consultant approaches.
I tug at my T-shirt, conscious of the sweet-and-sour sauce stain over left breast. “What’s your best coverup?” I ask. “Something that will bury these age spots on my jaw and these under-eye circles?”
She thumbs through her stock, checks labels, squeezes a dot of cream on finger, dabs the flaws in question. And then another on my cheek. I hadn’t noticed that.
At home I lean into mirror, stretch skin taut, dream of botox and sutures. I tuck chin to accentuate sags on lobster-skin neck. I get the flashlight, pick at and study a brown bump. It’s probably just another of those keratoses for which my dad so graciously granted me genes. But I make an appointment with my dermatologist. I’m late for my skin exam anyway. She’ll need to listen to me mutter more about how toadness doesn’t live in my bucket list.
I poke rolls above waistband and whine about bunions. My energy sags with the rest of me.
I pause for breath as I climb back up the path.
Everything takes more time. And I frustrate my kids when I can’t follow their rapid conversation. They don’t understand why I don’t understand.
I know I’m younger than many my age. But still I wonder. Where did I go? Why did I eat so many Oreos and M&M’s?
And my husband’s Medicare card arrives in the mail while I’m gone.
I’ve never done this before, joined The Nester and her October 31-day one-topic challenge. I don’t know if I can carry through. And I don’t want to talk about aging. And I don’t know what I’ll write about.
I thought about something more fun like wonder or creativity or even the 31st Psalm.
But this weighs on me more in this season of change, in this season of remembering. Because it was this time last year that I began to grow into the role of family matriarch.
And the Medicare card was the last straw.
Maybe if I take this journey I’ll find more comfort in this season. In this body. And maybe I’ll even be inspired to to make some changes that will lengthen my days. Maybe you will, too. There’s so much I wish I’d done as the younger me to prepare for the older me.
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This could be fun.
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