Good thing I’m not very superstitious.
I admit, however, that when the hand mirror fell off the windowsill in the bathroom, bounced twice, and landed on the tile floor unbroken, I did breathe a tiny little sigh of relief. After a summer of a broken toe in July and a late night visit to the ER after being attacked by hornets in August, I’m afraid that seven years of bad luck would probably mean traction for this gal.
The mirror above the bathroom sink used to be the object that stood between me and my losing an eye to my mascara wand. However, as my eyesight has worsened, my collection of mirrors has multiplied. It now includes two tiny magnifying mirrors and the hand mirror that tried to commit Mirrorcide today. Magnification, a cruel and necessary tool, is essential for plucking stray eyebrows and those pesky whiskers that appear after a good night’s sleep. Often, wearing bifocals WHILE looking into the magnifying mirror is the only way to locate these annoying little suckers.
These days, the mirror above the sink serves only one purpose. It allows me a chance to see myself in a soft, blurry haze. Kind of like having dinner by candlelight. I do not wear my bifocals for this exercise.
Snow White’s neurotic step mom spent a lot of time asking her own mirror hard questions. In my fiftieth decade, I am less and less inclined to care about the answers. When I see photos posted on the Facebook pages of really young women, the most beautiful ones are those who have not altered themselves through the Magic Mirror of Photoshop or Instagram. And then there are the women in their thirties and forties. I remember those years of being too careful and too sure about how to do things “right” before I realized what a waste of energy THAT was. I would not go back there for five minutes. It was exhausting.
But you know what is really great? I’m learning that women of a certain age, especially the ones I’ve known most of my life, post different photos. We are holding grandchildren, or hugging husbands we’ve somehow managed to continue loving despite the toothpaste in the sink. Our swimsuit shots would never make the the cover of Sports Illustrated, but we are relaxed and at ease and smiling broadly in spite of our laugh lines and gray hairs and sagging body parts. I have known many of these women for the better part of my life, and they are all, each one of them, more beautiful than they were decades ago. Time does that. Being less sure does that. Loving hard and deep and long does that. Loss does that. Laughter does that.
Some good wine shared with some good women does that. A smattering of good luck doesn’t hurt, either.
These fair and lovely friends of mine are the mirrors that matter to me most of all.
“An immaculate house is the sign of a wasted life.” (Author Unknown)
I’ve been told I have high standards where housekeeping is concerned. I do not consider this a compliment. I like things to be picked up and I’m a little weird about bathrooms, but there are certain places in my house that could use a good scrubbing even if most people don’t see those places. But I’d rather write. Or paint a wall.
When my kids were small, I had lower standards than I do now. And I’m proud to say I was never one of those mothers. You know the ones I’m talking about who have perfectly clean houses and perfectly clean kids? The women who don’t sleep? The ones who creep the rest of us out and make their kids and partners nuts? Yeah….I’m not one of those moms. Really. I promise. Just ask me.
The only mammal in the house who could safely eat off my floor in those days was the dog. And she ate rather well, as I recall.
My two college kids are home for the summer. This is great. Their bedrooms, which a month ago had fully made beds and bare floors have become transformed back into the comfortable and messy lairs of their childhoods. This pleases me greatly because they are home. They are comfortable. Their messes are not my problem. Both bedrooms have doors that close. The doors are closed a lot this summer.
The dog is happy that they are home, too. She was in a major funk after they left. She is old and partially deaf, but when her kids are home, she plays more and smiles more and gets a lot more ear scratches and hugs and treats.
Early this summer, the Boy left for a week of work out of town. The first day he was gone, I discovered the dog asleep in an open suitcase in his bedroom. Since she rarely ventures down the hallway to his room, I figured she was missing her Boy. Then, the next day, she went AWOL from the rest of the house and when I went to look for her, there she was again…..standing in the middle of his bedroom. This time, she was staring straight ahead in some sort of Beagle trance. I thought she’d had a stroke or was meditating. Concerned that she might be getting completely senile, I chased her out of the room and closed the bedroom door.
Toward the end of the week while I was putting laundry away, the mystery was solved. There were candy wrappers on the desk and a half full bag of those fancy rectangle mints were in a bin just high enough up that she could smell, but not see the bag amidst all the other Boy debris. Ah ha! It wasn’t the Boy she missed! It was the aroma of chocolate that kept her coming back. Luckily, she never found the stash or I’d be writing a much sadder tale about an old lady dog who took advantage of an opportunity to gorge herself on sweet treats. An obituary for a dog whose last. dying breath was…um….minty fresh.