All the Way Gray

I will turn 46 years old on the 21st of June, and memories of The Old Port and turning *21 on the 21st* are currently running loops in my head. One of my roommates at the time bought me gift: a drink called a Mind Eraser, and it went so far downhill from there I called in sick for two days. Really; kids, do not try this at home.

I try not to drink like that anymore. But never say never.

I’m giving myself a gift this year. It has nothing to do with vodka or coffee liqueur, or ruining any clothing, the interior of a cab, ahem, a carpet or my pride. I just thank my lucky stars handheld connections to the internet did not exist.

My gift to myself this year is this: letting my hair go gray. Embracing what is.

And what is, I suppose, if I overthink it: clear indication I’m that much closer to the finish line of life, but it honestly doesn’t feel that way. It feels more like dropping a lead coat from my shoulders and shaking free. Moving lightly. Freedom. It’s gray hair for god’s sake. It’s not crippling degenerative disease. For whatever reason, I was mostly gray at 35, and that’s just the way of things. I’ve fought it long enough.

Here’s my new haircut and my new gray hair, free of any and all color. It’s reeeaallllly short, but hey, it’s summer.

I have no plans to color my hair ever again. But never say never.

It’s 76 degrees, and I’m bundled up because I have a fever. That’s a delirious smile right there.

 

Things I Could Gold Medal In

I like winter Olympics. (I LOVE summer Olympics, but winter will do.) I’m consistently impressed by athletes and their abilities, and always have been. Chloe Kim? I mean, jeeZUM. Awesome in the true sense of the word.

I’m equally impressed, I’ll add, by the athletes who train their entire lives to never medal, to never have their short biographies flashed up on the tv screen, the ones who give their sport everything they’ve got but may not ever be remembered for it. I like those athletes. Can you imagine missing a gold medal by .34 of a second – and having, say, seven other athletes between you and the sparkle? It’s good to remember: ALL the athletes in Pyeongchang are the world’s best. Out there doing what they love.

Sigh. I love the Olympics.

If training hours are all equal, I’d say I’ve got more than a solid shot at some bling to hang around my neck. These are the things I think I’m a serious contender in:

  1. Creative Draping of Plants Over Lampshades
  2. Ignoring the Painting that Needs Doing
  3. Books-to-be-read Stacking
  4. Leftovers Reheating
  5. Gum Chewing
  6. Furniture Rearranging
  7. Squishing Dishes into the Dishwasher
  8.  Obsessive Counter Cleaning
  9. Dog Snuggling
  10. Ass Sitting (a dual event, really, along with “and Mindless Internet Surfing”)

Granted, I’m on vacation. There might be other, more world-stage-worthy events I could be considered for when I’m not in my pajamas. And hey, maybe these events don’t need trial runs or the aforementioned training. Still. I’m nothing if not committed.

What about you? Let’s get creative. Let’s make some Winter Olympic events of our own.

A Conservative Estimate

The following poem embodies me completely – in one role in my life: that of mother. I’ve memorized it, one of few poems I know by heart. It succinctly captures my commitment to my three children, my absolute love for them, my chilling fears for them. The speaker somehow comes across as irreverent and fun (at some point past at least,) also realistic, maybe a little pessimistic, sometimes — and then tentatively hopeful; all thrown in together in seventeen short lines. Like I said: me. 

By the time my kids came downstairs this morning I was, frankly, hoping no one would mention the school shooting in Parkland, Florida because I’m needing-a-vacation tired, and I’ll tell you what: my heart is beating on the outside of my body today, raw and bleeding, and barely hanging on.

I’ve been selling the world to my children for 18 years, with the best marketing I can muster. If you asked them, they would probably tell you they think there’s nothing they can’t do, nowhere they can’t go, nothing they can’t experience. I wonder: in so doing, have I sold them an absolute shit hole and called it “great potential” the way a real estate agent might?

I feel like I’m focused on the mold around the edge of the tub, the peeling paint on the trim, the loose floorboards in the house that is our world. And not in an enamoring, fixer upper, way. The house is made, quite possibly, entirely of cards. Can they make this place beautiful? Can we?