When I was 15, I used to look at my mother and say to myself:
“When I get old (mind you, she was only 41 at the time!), I will not be overweight like she is. How could I be? I have always been skinny!”
“I will certainly not comb my hair over in front and fasten it flat with a bobby pin like she does.” I thought she could look much better if she tried.
When we both got older and I’d married and had kids, somehow 25, 35, and then 40 extra lbs. had mysteriously been added to my weight. I’d lost a few teeth and had to wear a partial plate. I was still not FAT, I told myself, and I could lose it if I needed to. But I wouldn’t be caught DEAD without my partial plate, I thought. My Mom and Dad both had dentures when I was little, and they soaked in a glass of water at night. So I often saw my parents without their teeth. *Gross!* I thought. And I would certainly not get a HUMP like my mother had by then.
I would make sure to “stand up straight” so that didn’t happen. I did lose those extra pounds, several times, in fact. When I was near 50, I even gave myself a makeover, started wearing more stylish and flattering clothes, and I colored my hair.
How sad, I thought then, that my mother, who was a widow by then, did not seem to care what she looked like. She never wore makeup. Her hair was short, but not styled at all, except when she got a poodle perm. And she had started wearing those shapeless long dresses that used to be called “muu-muus.” Although she visted her friends who lived near her, she didn’t care to go anywhere unless she had to.
At that time in my life, I was just beginning to LIVE! I took cross-country trips by car, train, and plane, often with a friend. I wore contact lenses for a few years.
And then it happened. I began to get OLD. My hair turned a lovely silver, which I did not want to color. My eyebrows became invisible unless I drew them with a brow pencil. I actually looked better with only muted lipstick tones and light blush than with foundation, powder, eyeshadow and mascara. I began to get stiff–more than usual–from exercise or work. The extra weight did not come off, no matter how little I ate. And just before I retired, I lost my dear, kind-hearted mother, who would have loved to have me living near enough to visit much more often.
And here I am, in 2010, wearing a long, shapeless dress now called a “lounger.” My hair is short and easy to care for, though I do style it with a wave and half-bang in front. I leave my partial plates in their box if I am not going to see anyone. And I hardly ever go anywhere that I don’t have to, even though I can still drive, which my mother never learned to do.
Oddly, I almost never look in the mirror, although when I was young, I could never pass one without checking my appearance. When I do look at my reflection–and actually SEE myself–I see my mother looking back at me! How did that happen? WHEN did it happen?
I hope she sees that and laughs!
By the way, I chose to have her buried wearing her dentures. 😉