I came across a packing list I jotted down a few days before Ainsley's birth. It brought back the awesome anticipation of late pregnancy. I remember lying on the couch watching episode after episode of Monk and timing my contractions. I have a small notebook full of jottings like this: 7:42 7:56 8:01 8:05 8:17. I'd have a four minute interval ... and then a ten minute one.
At the top of the packing list is an item that has become indispensable for this forty-something mother: reading glasses.
I was 43 when our precious John arrived. I looked down as the nurse handed me our 8 pound, 10 ounce bundle of John, and I saw ... a blurry, indistinct mass. Glasses were located and suddenly those gorgeous brown eyes came into sharp focus.
My friend and I were laughing about growing older. Generally speaking I don't lament the passing years. Sleepless nights and stomach bugs aside, I love my life. I wouldn't turn back the clock, and I wouldn't press fast forward either. If John's third birthday brings a gradual change to some of his more challenging behavior, well, great, but having two older sons has taught me to smell the roses of today because they are fleeting.
Turning forty was liberating. I found that I was much more accepting of myself, flaws and all. I have always been very critical of my figure, but when I turned forty, I found myself thinking, "Well, so you're a little flabby, and a little wrinkly, and a little gray. You're forty! You're supposed to be all those things."
Then my eyes started to go. Now, I freely admit that I am spoiled in this area. I have had perfect vision all my life. It seemed that overnight I adopted my Mother's T.V. Guide viewing stance - stretch your arms as far as they'll go and then squint!
Now my arms are too darn short and the squint just isn't cutting it. I have glasses - readers to use the correct term - all over the house.
The humbling part comes when I leave the house thinking I look great only to glance in the rear view mirror under the unforgiving Georgia sun and discover the lipstick I thought was wine is actually pink and that my eyebrows are a veritable hundred acre wood. I told my friend that I want that filter ABC puts on Diane Sawyer. Soft and hazy - that's the ticket!
I confess that I once passed judgment on women who had their eyebrows done. Suffice it to say I have met my Waterloo in this regard. A week or two ago I missed an appointment to have a friend wax the old brows and was forced to attempt the job myself. This procedure required a magnifying mirror, a flashlight, tweezers and, of course, my readers. This is a juggling feat I doubt the Barnum and Bailey Circus could match. Well worth shelling out $10 to have someone else do it right.
Readers - they are now at the top of every packing list.