This is my face. I don’t chase the lines away with photoshop, botox, creams or makeup and would never judge or say a word about those who do. And no, I did not accept my crevices, cracks and crows with grace, especially after my daughters referred to the line between my eyes as a “coin slot.”
“You mean it looks like a vending machine where you put the money in and out pops a Pepsi?” I asked, examining my face in the downstairs magnifying mirror like a surgeon would its plastic.
That’s when my daughter Nell pressed a quarter into my hand with a look of great amusement spreading across her cheeks. “Here Mom. Roll this up and down the line and see if it gets stuck in your head!”
“Or spits out some change!” Susannah chimed in.
While I normally love their senses of humor, this wasn’t one of the times.
Instead, I felt wet drops forming in my eyes between nervous bits of laughter.
“How did this happen? Oh my God. I became old… overnight!” Even the dogs were watching the scenario, all five of us now crammed in the bathroom together.
“Oh Mom. We’re so sorry. Don’t cry. We were just kidding around. You don’t have a coin slot. She doesn’t have a coin slot, right Susannah?”
“I don’t see a coin slot. What’s a coin slot?” Susannah rescinded.
“Nice try girls! You just signed your own death warrants,” I joked. “But just you wait my pretties. When you get to be my age, you’ll have coin slots of your very own!”
As much as I wanted to take this opportunity get up on my soapbox and tell them how hard it can be to raise their sorry little butts, especially as an only parent, and one who works several jobs, maintains an entire house, and has to take personal responsibility for every single detail in our lives, I didn’t. I kept my mouth shut. For once. In my life.
I am a single widowed mother. That’s my reality. And I’m pretty much over worrying about it. While I used to ask for people’s approval or opinions in my decision-making about raising my kids or doing this or that, I grew to a point where I refuse to hide behind a veil of perfection.
Just ask me and I’ll tell you. My family is perfectly flawed. I spent years grieving the death and loss of my husband. I spent years fighting for my kids to treat me with respect, especially after all I do for them. (Fat chance!) I spent years making sure they did not end up dead drunk in the woods or wrapped around a tree in some god awful car accident with a pimply-faced kid behind the wheel. I have spent years worrying about my aging parents and wondering how will I live without talking to my Mom everyday?
These are the wrinkle formers. They tell our life stories. The older I get, the more I realize you can see the essence of the person by looking at their real face, not the ones we all plaster on Facebook. I now find myself studying those faces more and more after seeing a value in life experience, not things.
But look! See the smile lines? Those come from being lifted up by the best of friends who will always love us and who can make us laugh until we pee in our pants!
That’s the beauty of life.
As an editor of a 1.8 million a week circulation women’s magazine, I have interviewed more than 60,000 people over my 14 year tenure on every subject known to man, from beating cancer to bearing children. But the one thing I’ve found that people talk to me about the most is love. Unrequited love. Their love for their families, their partners, their children, and parents. They tell me about new love. Divorced love. Lost love. Looking for love. Making love. Falling in love. Swearing off love. Being in love.
The effect their stories had on me probably has a lot to do with my own story. I’m sure plenty of people thought I was crazy for doing what I did, but ask my wrinkles how much I care?
What’s more, my story is being published in June 2018 by Hatherleigh Press/Penguin Random House.
Wohoo! Hi Mark!
All of this makes me want to hear more and specifically about what people have done for love. Or in the name of love? I am hoping to profile one follower’s story a week on this blog and on my new Facebook community page called “What You’ve Done For Love.” You can access the page by clicking here.
Stay tuned as it populates with heartfelt stories and relationship advice from fellow members.
PS- Don’t forget to hit the like button for blog alerts (no spam), book tour events and other happenings on my Facebook Author page while you’re at it.
Thank you and I look forward to connecting.