Operation Haven’t-Aged-a-Day

Momservation: Nothing says your family missed you like being greeted with a pile of laundry, unflushed toilets, and evidence of the food they ate still on the counter.

 

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So, Operation Haven’t-Aged-a-Day was a success.

 

I polished myself up good in preparation for my 20-year reunion. Tightened everything up nice with a steady diet of triathlon training – no one was going to catch Miss Best Tight End 1989 with her butt looking like a carport.

 

Suffered weeks of graying hair, seeing my premenopausal future staring back at me in the mirror, just so I would be the right “natural” shade of sunkissed brunette on the right day.

 

I had 18 year old girls at the local trendy boutique act as my personal fashion stylists, earning their commission to best figure out how to get a body that pushed out two kids to look like I never got chastised by a doctor for gaining too much weight during pregnancy.

 

In the final hours I closed with the last details – a pedicure for the one toe that would show in my peep-toe pumps, nails that see polish less than an eclipse cycle frenched-up, and my first time experience spending large amounts of time with toothpaste on my face to see if it really would clear up zits.

 

My immensely patient husband, having to live with this new strange woman suddenly obsessed with fighting the sands of time, was constantly muttering that it must be a girl thing. And it was. And I admit it was all very silly. But like my friend Chris also concedes, “I’m a bit of an overachiever.”

 

And yet for the thirteen people (but who’s counting, really?) at my reunion who gushed that I hadn’t aged a day – my new favorite people by the way – that moment of accomplishment made it all seem medal worthy.

 

But then after the last cocktails wears off, the hyper excitement of seeing formative acquaintances runs its course, and realizing you’re not 20 years younger and can’t party all night anymore, reality creeps up like the pain from your four-hour too high heels.

 

I have aged a day. Many, many, many days. And I’m okay with that. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have the life I love, the career I’ve established, the home I’ve created, the priceless friendships I’ve nurtured, the husband I adore, or the amazing children that give me purpose in life.

 

And nothing brings that all home like an 8 year old daughter who has seen me make her breakfast with pillow lines still etched on my face, parading around in holey underwear and stained T-shirts, hair thrown back in scraggly pony-tails for large portions of her life, my head shoved in toilet bowls, washing, dryer and dish washing machines, my face etched by the lines of grief, anger, frustration, happiness and joy.

 

And still she says to me, “Mommy, you don’t need to do anything. You’ll always be the most beautiful mommy in the world.”

 

I just wished she had told me that sooner and saved me from myself.

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