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Tag Archives: middle-age

I Dream of Bikini  

I’m going to share an embarrassing superficial secret.

For years, decades really, I have wanted to wear a bikini. In my mind I saw the perfect one. It was always bubblegum pink with those 70’s strings hanging from the sides of the bottoms. I also imaged smooth, thin tanned legs that those sexy ties would be resting against, as well as the long lean torso showcased in the middle.

This would explain why besides the three times in my distant memory, I have never worn a bikini.  The fantasy is not the reality and for a long time I was the kind of girl who thought if you can’t do something right, don’t do it. I’m still sort of that kind of girl.

Thus, years of swim dresses and cover-ups ensued. I even successfully managed to go without wearing a bathing suit for an entire summer – twice.  Of course, all of this is unnecessary. I could certainly comfortably wear a swim suit, but that doesn’t mean that I am comfortable doing it. Also, since I dislike the water – both pool and ocean – turns out bathing suits are easier to avoid than you’d imagine.

I worked within these confines for basically my entire life, but the other day I was flipping through a bathing suit catalogue that somehow mistakenly wound up in my mailbox, and I came across a suit that almost fit my fantasy… as did the model wearing it. I lingered on the page; silently coveting and felt a shift within me.

I wanted that suit.

I couldn’t believe it. Now that I was over 40, had three children come out my pooched, overstretched stomach, I was going to cave? Was this some trick of middle age? I knew I couldn’t see distance well anymore, but could I no longer see myself clearly either? Did I really think I could get away with this?

Logically the answer was no, at least not in the way I’d like to, yet still I felt gripped by urgency. This was probably my last chance to wear something like this before middle age really set in around the middle.

I’m already done with having children. I’m done with going out late nights and dancing till dawn – okay, I don’t think I ever danced till dawn, but you know what I’m saying. I’ve got wrinkles and pains. I’m happy to be in bed by 10pm. I like hot water and lemon. I carry hard mints in a Ziplock bag. I’m – Aaaaccck – getting older.

I’ve noticed other emotional changes in myself as well, now that I’m further up the maturity chain. I’m a little more ready to take chances, a little less judgmental, more appreciative, less giving a shit. I’ve also gotten simultaneously more and less vain; which means, I notice many more things that bother me but I also don’t care as much.

Which brings me back to the bikini I’ve coveted but never owned much less worn; it was now or never. Without thinking any more, I added it to my cart and clicked purchase.

I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it, but lately I’m full of surprises.

bikini pic












Burnt pans, burst bubbles and a visit to the dark side

I am hunched over the sink, applying heavy pressure on my dishwashing brush to rub the burnt remains from the skillet; yet no matter how much or hard I scrub the dark coal like coating refuses to budge. 

Frustrated, I search impatiently under the sink for scouring pads, hoping the extra abrasion will do the trick. All the while, I’m cursing myself for forgetting about the chicken stir fry on the burner when I ran to bring my middle son a cup of milk, and got distracted by the toy explosion on the carpet when my bare foot met the wrath of Lego Luke Skywalker.

My middle and oldest sons staring blankly at the television screen don’t even bat an eye in my direction as I yelp like a cat whose tail just got stepped on and hop carefully to the couch, avoiding the Lego Storm Troopers strategically scattered for optimal injury. As I plop down and clutch my foot tenderly, I hear my youngest cry accusingly, “You stepped on Luke!”

I’m raising such compassionate children.

Hobbling back toward the kitchen, my crushed tail between my legs, I heard my oldest son yell “Hungry” and smelled before I saw the dinner that would never be. And so I scrub, my hair falling in my face which I brush away unconsciously with hands I forget are wet.

Sighing heavily to myself, I push on, attacking the char with a vengeance while contemplating whether I should just give up and order a pizza or make it a breakfast for dinner night.

Of course I decide to make eggs; not allowing myself the comfort of easily solving a problem with a phone call.  That would be weak and doesn’t work with the martyred status I have going on in my own head.

A thought bubbles to the surface as it does sometimes when I’m folding endless laundry, or negotiating with my children to do their homework, or scrubbing a pan, and I wonder, is this really me?

How did I get to be 40 something? Where did these children come from? Wait, I’m married? It wasn’t so long ago that I fluttered through my days carefree and open. There was youthful insecurity of course, and uncertainty, but my face glowed with freshness and my eyes twinkled with possibility.

I didn’t know exactly who I was back then, but I knew I could be somebody. Somebody smart, successful, important…something.

Yet, here I am.

I realize I’ve tainted the picture with my negative tone; that if I just cast a rainbow filter on the scene, I could make it look comical or at the very least just an average mom day. The right lighting shows off the best side of things. With good lighting you don’t see all the wrinkles.

It would help if one of my boys came in right now to give me a hug, just because. It happens sometimes.

But not today.

So it seems that besides the scrubbing, I’ve also got some ironing to do.

I will not go to the dark side.

My mom is Red Hot. Your Mom ain’t Diddly Squat.

Every day, I look at my reflection and think, I remember that girl’s younger sister. Every day, I see small little changes. Laugh lines that aren’t funny. Freckles that have turned to the dark side.

Every day I look at my mom and wonder how the hey she’s aging in reverse while I’m speeding light years ahead.

Why is she rolling up her shorts, while I won’t even wear a pair?

How does she go to the gym every day, play tennis and go dancing at night, while I’m exhausted just running away from my children?

I honestly don’t know if there’s ever been a 65 year-old woman so… cute.

Even as she registered herself for Medicare, the woman behind the counter, probably 20 years her junior, gushed, “Stop it! You’re not 65 years-old! You’re just the cutest thing.”

My mother smiled coyly, and showed her license. Yeah, she’s sexy too.

Having an adorable, sexy, mom, is not an easy thing for a girl starting middle age. Okay, fine, it wasn’t easy for a girl starting high school, either.

Everywhere we go, people are always assuming we’re sisters. That would be fine, if I could at least be the hot one, but it’s no guarantee. Because while I may be younger, she’s still MaryAnn with a side of Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, and I’m, uh, the Professor? It’s just how it is.

Still, she continues to try to ‘hotten’ me up.

For as long as I can remember, she’s been unbuttoning my blouse to show off a little more, reminding me to put on lipstick and fixing my hair.

I, of course, decided to never wear lipstick, or brush my hair, and for a while took to wearing large prairie dresses. I still kind of like them. Sue me.

She brings me white strips for my teeth every three months and sexy low cut tops to wear going out.

She is no longer allowed near me with a tweezer.

Not too long ago, she took one of her pretty manicured nails and pointed at the crease between my brows. “I can have that fixed.” She said with the cutest giggle.

“Mom!” I said, a little too defensively, gnawing on an unpolished nail, “Maybe I don’t want to be fixed.”

She giggled again.  “Okay. You let me know.”

Sigh. I will.

Because even though I naturally try to resist her wily ways, her hotness is a blessing. It makes me try a little harder. Run a little farther. Without her, my teeth wouldn’t be as gleaming and my cleavage would never come out to say hi.

So today, I honor my forever young mom who’s helping me to age the best I can.

Yup, that's my mom!

Ain’t Nothin Gonna Breaka My Stride

Downstairs making lunches for my children in the early morning hours, it was already apparent that there was something special about this day. The hard boiled eggs easily shed their skins. The peanut butter had a lovely oily sheen. I had enough vanilla yogurts to go around. Making lunches was never this enjoyable. Even waking my kids and watching them drudge themselves from their slumber took on a rose colored hue. They looked young and gorgeous. Even I didn’t look half bad as I gazed at my reflection in the bathroom mirror.  Okay, the lights were off, but whatever.

Maybe it’s because today is my birthday. I am 43. Wow, that sounds old. 43 is a woman with short hair and 10 extra pounds in mom jeans, not me. Although, I can’t say the gym clothes I’m sporting on a daily basis will be seen in Vogue anytime soon. And I have recently gained a few pounds. Crap.

Well, I certainly don’t feel 43. I mean, sometimes I feel 100, but certainly not 43. On most days, I think I settle in nicely around 31, although for the record, 27 is the age to be… not so young as to still be in some back alley throwing up your fourth margarita and accompanying nachos on your borrowed overpriced shoes, but not so mature that you limit the potential of your own possibility. But 43… Wow, again. I seem to be stuck now obsessing over the number. I can’t move on. I can’t look away. I need to get it out of my head. 43434343434343434343434343. That’s better, for some reason now all I see is 34. I’ll take it.

Something about birthdays make you feel very young and hopeful, like there’s a surprise waiting for you around every corner. They also can make you feel very old, like when you realize, there are no surprises anymore, only kids who couldn’t bother to even make you a card and a husband who didn’t take the early train home, and spent the night watching the Yankees.

But that was last year.

This year, I’m taking control of my birthday and not leaving it in the hands of amateurs. I’ve scheduled my annual physical this morning. I thought it was a positive way to start the year. After that, I’m heading straight to the gym. Then I’ve got a massage appointment, followed by lunch with friends.  I love it already.

My husband walks in the kitchen where I’m finished with the lunches and have started giving the boys breakfast. “Happy birthday, Mommy!” he booms. “Did everyone say happy birthday?” Three sleepy heads lift. A muted chorus of unenthusiastic “Happy birthday, Mommy” dutifully follows.

“That’s it?” My husband bellows. “That’s all Mommy gets?” That woke them. Immediately, three bodies attack me with hugs viscous enough to suffocate a small animal. I beam. That’s more like it.

I’m totally feeling the glow, all warm and happy. I add pick up ice cream cake to today’s to-do list. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but I’m old enough to know not to put my happiness in anyone’s hands besides my own. It’s a gift.

I wish... this was true. Wait, no, then i'd be pregnant. :)

I wish. 😉


It’s Mom’s Night Out…should I stay home?

The other night was Mom’s Night Out. It’s an annual event set up by our elementary school, where the moms are invited to go out for an evening to drink wine, shop with vendors brought in to sell things like apparel, jewelry and bags, and of course, eat. It’s a lovely night where I typically walk away buying stuff I don’t need and eating stuff I don’t want.

But this Mom’s Night Out, they’ve shaken things up a bit by announcing that there would be no shopping. This year, there would be dancing. Dancing? Oh! My young brain cries. The last time you went dancing was at someone’s wedding, who knows when. It’s been at least five years, back when one shoulder dresses were trendy. Inside, I’m excited, but what comes out of my mouth is, “Wow, I hope it won’t be too loud.”

Gahhh!! Who is this old person pretending to be me? Before I can stop myself, I go even further, “I don’t even know if want to go. I’m tired.”

When did I become so boring? And worse, someone who’s boring and barely cares. It’s my apathy at my disinterest that has me all hot and bothered. I guess, I’m happy that at least something still does (Besides my very sexy husband, of course. Wink wink, sexy husband).

I’m not alone. Not to drag anyone under the bus, but instead of rallying my negativity into positivity, my friends all jumped on my wagon, voicing their own lackluster interest. I can’t blame us really. We’re tired. We’re lazy. We do the mom thing, wiping, cleaning, schlepping, negotiating. Some of us have jobs in the adult world as well. So while going out at night is a pleasure, sometimes the overwhelming days make it almost too much of an effort.

Is this middle age? I am in my 40’s now, along with most of my friends. So technically, I guess it is. But isn’t 40 the new 30? I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m married and have children. I can’t even begin to process that my child bearing years are actually over. What is happening here?

Maybe it’s because I still think of myself as young, but if I’m honest, when I see someone in their 20’s, I know by the way they dress and act and go out till all hours, that I am not young. That I don’t even want to be. They can have their night clubs and stilettos. I’ve got Mom’s Night Out!  So off I go in my sensible, flat boots.

The turn-out was slim. Apparently, there are more beaten-down moms than me, who couldn’t even gather the energy to go. My friend and I were the first to arrive. Yep, the first. Back in the day, this would be embarrassing. Now we glory in getting out of our houses as quickly as possible. Also, if I don’t get out early, the odds of me going steadily diminish. It’s like every minute I don’t get out of the house is another reason to put on sweat pants and watch the Real Housewives.

The music was loud, but I found myself moving a little to keep warm in the cool, empty room. We sat down, sipping our wine as friends filtered in. We ate and chat, but not a mom stepped up to dance. I’d like to say I was leading the pack to the center of the floor, but I barely moved my butt from the cushy couch. I had a plate of food, friends and a magnum of wine. I was happy – head in the clouds, smile on the face, soft buzz of energy – happy.

At around 10pm, my friend and I exchanged ‘the glance’. It was time to go. I got home at the perfect time. My kids were nestled all tight in their beds; the picture of innocence and all things beautiful. And I was snuggling in mine with my sexy husband by the 11 o’clock news. Call me a loser, but I couldn’t ask for a better night.

Hot mamas in sensible shoes

Hot mamas in sensible shoes

The Shape of Cindy

I glanced at the magazines as I typically do while standing in line at the supermarket. I always think it’s so nice that they put them there to help me pass the time while I wait (wink, wink). Usually I flip through US Weekly or People. Sometimes, she admits with coy, embarrassment, I grab a copy of STAR. Come on, when they have the “Stars without Makeup” or “Best and Worst Bodies”? Really, you can pretend to be above it, but I know you’re sneaking a peak.

Anyway, as my life slowly drained away waiting for the woman in front of me to finish her super interesting negotiation to the bored cashier on why she had an expired coupon, the cover of SHAPE magazine caught my attention. It was Cindy. Cindy Crawford.

For you annoying, young people who were too busy learning to go poo-poo on the potty to appreciate her heyday, Cindy, ruled the modeling world in the 90’s. During my most impressionable years, she was gorgeous but in a believable way. She was tall, but not impossibly tall. Thin, but not heroin anorexic like some of the grunge models of that day. Young, but (hee hee) a little older than me. She was with me through the big hair and the straight hair. We had babies at around the same time, and I exercised to her post baby work-out tape with all three of my kids. She was the friend I didn’t actually have.

So when I saw the cover, I experienced of moment of honest happiness to see her. My supermodel was back. Yay! I grabbed the magazine for a closer look, and my smile faded.


Now don’t get me wrong. Cindy looks great. She’s maintained her figure and her hair cascades down the page. But – yes, there’s a but – no amount of air brushing can mistake the obvious. Cindy is old. She looks great…wait for it… for her age. Ow. That last part hurts ‘older’ women everywhere, because if Cindy looks like a woman in her forties, well, I certainly must as well. Damn.

In three seconds of sighting the cover, I did a complete 180. I was no longer happy to see my old friend. She  no longer reminded me of my youth, she reminded me that I was old. I doubt this was the effect marketing executives had hoped for. I knew Cindy was there to appeal to women like me. Women who grew up with her, who else would appreciate this blast from the past? I get it, but guess what, I don’t want to.

Getting old is weird. You almost can’t believe it’s happening to you. It’s an outer-body experience that’s happening to your body. I spend time studying myself, and can see the subtle changes occurring. They’re not terrible, but they’re there. But I don’t need a mirror to know that I’m past my prime.

For one, I just need to look at these magazines.  I don’t know a full 70% of the people they showcase. Who the hey are Chris Hemsworth, Miranda Cosgrove, Gemma Arterton, Wiz Khalifa?

Two. People now address me as ‘so & so’s’ mom. If one of my ‘so & so’s’ is with me, say, in a store, sometimes they get some free stuff just for being cute. Hey! I used to get free stuff too!

Three. I drive a mini-van.

I don’t think I need to go on.

Now I’m not saying getting old is bad. It’s a good thing. Great, if you consider the alternative. And honestly, I’m so much more comfortable with myself than I was in my 20’s. It’s just strange. A minute (okay 20 years) ago, I was fresh and new, with the world open and wanting me. Now, I’m – eeeek!!! – a middle-aged suburban mom?? OMG.

Somewhere in those 20 years, almost all of my goals changed, or very slowly subsided into the background. I don’t want to blame the children, but what-the-hey, it’s their fault. With their blessed arrival, my entire focus shifted from me to them. It’s exactly how I want it, just don’t remind me what I used to want.

I was happy before I saw Cindy on the cover. I didn’t think about any of this. Sigh. I really wish I wouldn’t have seen my old friend today.

She really does look great...for her age. Ouch. Still hurts.

She really does look great…for her age. Ouch. Still hurts.