A Grown Up Moment

Most of the time, I feel the same Sue in my head; the teen that refuses to grow up all the way, who wants to argue with everyone in the world about the craziness that surrounds her. I hate it when my kids force me to be a grown-up and boss them around about their homework or their chores. I really hate it when my furry man reminds me oh-so-gently-and-carefully, of my grown up responsibilities (I have a small iTunes addiction, and eBay occasionally wants to party with our bank account). But there are moments that flash in front of my eyes that make me feel my age. Unfortunately, they aren’t always moments of wisdom or great meaning.

Tonight, for example, I was filing off the ends of my fingernails that I had been too lazy to trim for weeks, down to my preferred length of nothing ( I hate it when fingernails tap on the keyboard – I like the thump of the pads of my fingertips; very satisfying when I’m mad-typing). I had a sudden memory of being in 2nd grade or 3rd grade, in our apartment in Moscow, staring in fascination at the 4-inch nails of a friend of the family, Aunt Linda. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my entire life. They were blood red, oh-so-shiny, and matched Aunt Linda’s lipstick perfectly; she put Joan Crawford to shame. I wanted my nails to be just like Aunt Linda’s nails so badly, my teeth hurt. My mom was very much against make-up of all kinds, and wouldn’t even let us play dress-up with make-up. Of course, I took every opportunity to paint my nails with magic markers at school, only to come home and have my mom scrub my hands raw with a Brillo pad and her trusty can of Comet (“Comet, it makes your teeth turn green. Comet, it tastes like gasoline. Comet, it makes you vomit. So buy some Comet, and vomit, today!”). But that didn’t stop the yearning. For decades, my nail ideal was always the image of Aunt Linda’s glamorous scarlet nails.

Standing in my bathroom, at 9pm tonight, after an exhausting day of detangling hundreds of ornaments and a dozen strings of lights from my dry-as-tinder beyond-dead Christmas tree (that viciously stabbed my hands full of teeny-tiny pine-needle holes), I had to chuckle out loud at the thought of Aunt Linda’s fingernails trying to live my life. Raising 3 kids —who am I kidding, let’s lump the dogs and the husband and round it up to 6 kids— who really has the luxury of 4-inch nails? And now that I have access to the best salons and am able to treat myself to any colour manicure on the planet, do you know what colours I find myself getting? Clear. The aestheticians sigh and shake their heads when I walk in…here comes the boring lady, just thankful to have her cuticles trimmed and a chance at adult conversation…

So there is my daily reminder that I am getting older. This was a little one. I am still severely disturbed by the biggie I had earlier, when I couldn’t read some small print and realized I might be heading to Reading Glasses Land. I’ll write about that one on another day; my newly filed fingers will thump quite satisfactorily on the keyboard for that story, because just thinking about it blows my mind. I might just slip into a post-mid-life crisis moment and have to run to the salon to get myself some 4-inch red lacquered nails…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Connie :)
    Jan 09, 2014 @ 06:05:13

    Hey, you are not old, you are just sensible. I myself hate my nails the moment they grow past the tips of my fingers. At least you splurge and get your cuticles trimmed. I just chew mine off. 😄

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