Monday, April 6, 2009

Cake in Excess

Yesterday I lingered in front of the mirror a little longer than usual. I stared at the wide open pores, the deepening lines that trail down from my nose to the outer edges of my thinning lips, the worry lines forming in between my brows. There are flyaway grays that I can no longer count and will not bother to pull. I am only a step or two away from a twisted bun, rolled stockings and bifocals.

I stepped back. Slowly. Away from the mirror. Why do we do this to ourselves?

My hands are looking more and more like my mother's. I used to look at my hands and think they didn't look any different than when I was a teenager. They were soft, creamy and begging to be held. Now, I see gray-blue veins and dry patches. My nails are short, uneven. But, thankfully, the coat of hair that has covered my arms since I was young is still there. Furry is a sign of youth, right? So lucky . . .

I remember when I was barely out of toddler-hood and my mom took me to a neighbor girl's birthday party. I had finally stopped stripping down to my underwear and streaking the neighborhood, so my mom felt that just maybe I might be ready to socialize in a more formal setting.

I loved being naked, nearly naked. I was fearless when I was naked.

We didn't have any money for presents, at least not really good presents (Silly Putty and those plastic rings with decals from the drugstore weren't even within our budget). Construction paper, scissors and a slew of broken crayons were all I needed for a real gift. "Homemade is so much better," my mother lied. Sometimes, I would even use glue and a few of nature's cast offs I found in the yard. I saved the pine cones and lilac sprigs for really special friends.

I didn't get parties (I still don't get parties--something about forced socialization makes my spine want to roll up and hide in my nether regions). But, I did get games. Games and cake.

Games were for winning. Cake was for scarfing.

Apple bobbing. I win. I might have to drink half the tub, but I would win.

Pin the tail on the donkey. One confident stick.

Tag. Please. Don't insult me. Keep in mind that I ran around the neighborhood naked. I called it training.

Pinata. Nice try.

Blowing out birthday candles. I knew I could always do it better. One breath. And it didn't even have to be a big breath. I was that good.

Cake. Biggest piece. "She's so tiny, where does she put it?" the adults would whisper. I would puff up with pride and an infusion of glucose.

The kids were in awe of me--the scrawny kid with scabbed knees, a faded t-shirt and lace-less shoes.

Nothing phased me.

JR carefully, methodically picked at the sprinkles on the cake, careful not to come in contact with the blue butter cream frosting.

"It's sweet! You'll like it," I spooned the frosting and lifted it to his mouth. He turned his head away and sneered as if to say, "You can't make me."

This evening JR and I shared a small white and butter cream cake snagged from the bakery of an infamous super mart. I missed my cake. Yesterday.

When I turned another year older (DO NOT wish me a happy your-getting-older-and-there-is-nothing-you-can-do-about-it day, AKA BIRTHday. I've moved on.)

What I miss most. Not creaseless skin. Not my gray-less long dark hair. Not the halcyon days of my blissful youth (insert sarcastic sigh here). Nope.

I miss that donkey. I miss running nearly naked (Wonder Woman Underoos--so fitting). I miss stuffing fistfuls of cake in my mouth, puffing out my cheeks and running to make sure I didn't miss taking the first swing at that pinata.

But then, I look at him, smearing the blue frosting around on his plate. Licking his fingers while simultaneously arching his back, demanding to be released from the confines of his booster.

And then he runs. I chase with a damp towel. He's faster than me (his sister-in-utero slows me down).

He's faster than me.

And then I see it . . . tag, pinatas, donkeys, cake in excess. He's going to be fearless . . . he IS fearless. Watching him while twirling my graying hair and pushing my glasses up on my nose . . . This is going to be very, very cool.

But this time, I'm totally springing for the Silly Putty (and a gallon of Oil of Olay).


flutter said...

that little face!oof~!

People in the Sun said...

My guy reminds me of so many things I forgot because stupid things got in the way. I don't know what it would take to excite me anymore, but everything excites him. I don't plan on living through him, but I plan on re-learning life.

Mom said...

I wonder what ever happened to my wonder Woman Underoos?? I loved those things!

Tara R. said...

There are so many photos in my mom's albums of me shirtless. Naked was good back in the day. My son was a stripper, not so much his sister. But they both were fearless. It was very cool.

Karen said...

You mean you don't streak through your house? With you being invincible, you'd probably win all the mommy-toddler matches. said...

Happy Not-Birthday...

I love the parties. I love remembering being with a group of kids, unsupervised (to a point) in someone's house. Roaming around, finding hidden nooks and getting into trouble (or hiding the trouble...)

ConverseMomma said...

Being that I have seen you when you first wake up in the morning, I can attest to the fact that you are gorgeous, even another year older. Happy Birthday! Sorry, I had to. You know me. I never do what I am told.

I love you, big and real! And, yup....I want to go back too.

Anonymous said...

I never got to go to birthday parties when I was a kid. I want my kids to go to parties so I can live vicariously through them. They have all the fun that I imagine I would have had, and for me, that's enough. My hands haven't changed from teenage years, but my hair and face have, and I miss that. No amount of creams and gels will bring it back either, damn it. I know, I've tried. So we accept and move on, no?

Kori said...

You are such an excellent write that it blows me away, it truly does.

Flea said...

I miss the undies with the days of the week. And basketball.

Kamis Khlopchyk said...

Beautiful as always:) Fearless is a grand thing to be, if you ask me!

Glad you enjoyed your cake with your little man!

As Cape Cod Turns said...

Um (whisper, whisper) Happy Birthday.

My daughter loved Bob the Builder when she was little, so I had to buy her boys underwear. Thank goodness for you, they sold Wonderwoman undies in girls!

Woman in a Window said...

"Cake. Biggest piece. "She's so tiny, where does she put it?" the adults would whisper. I would puff up with pride and an infusion of glucose." I love this. I love all of this. I love who you are, who you were, where you are going. Perfect!

Karen MEG said...

Glad you had your own little party with your sweet little guy. Happy celebration.

I'm not handling aging gracefully; at the rate I'm plucking the grays, I will be bald by my next birthday ...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You've discovered the cure for stressing over aging--don't look in the mirror--look at what you've created.

huddtoo said...

I LOVE cake, esp with butter cream frosting! :)

Gotta love how kids are fearless...what happens to us?

RJTrue said...

Happy Freakin' Birthday (three days late) :) Love you sister. TONS!

CanNOT wait to see you!

KG said...

Another year older? Sure. Another year wiser? Absolutely!

Happy Birthday.

PS - my kid will be happy to inhale any cake your kid rejects.

Wendi said...

What a fabulous birthday post!
Do we share the same birthday?
April 7th?
I am sure I am older than you...feel better?
I hope you have some leftover cake with buttercream icing to scarf down today!
Happy birthday friend!

melissa said...

i had wonderwoman under roos too!!! our not-birthdays are pretty close. i didn't turn a year older a few days before you.
honey...i know what you're talking about. the hand thing. i so get that. i've taken to using oil of olay on my hands too!! and i use oil of olay...compulsively. i have 2 bottles all times. one for the master bath. one in the powder room. and i constantly moisturize.
happy non birthday.

Caution/Lisa said...

I really thought you were describing me in the first part of that post, and I was wondering, "How can she see me?"

Lori said...

I love how much you appreciate every part of being a Mom!

painted maypole said...

i'm glad you were born.


Zoeyjane said...

I say skip the Oil of Olay and stick with L'oreal - it hasn't made me unhappy, yet.

Isn't it so funny when we see ourselves mirror back, even when they're doing something so converse to our nature? Happens all the time around here.

Kristen said...

Again such amazing writing! I just get lost in your posts!

Here's to many more years of CAKE!! :)

(Since I can't say Happy Birthday!)

Anonymous said...

Your last three posts have just blown me

Angela Nazworth said...

First off cute cute picture!! Also, I delight in seeing how much my daughter loves her body and not in a prideful way--in a very healthy way---it is ebautiful and I need to be more like her---instead I often stand in front of my mirror and scowl at the "ugly lady" who stares back--so not right.

MommyTime said...

This is a beautiful post. For me that freedom was all about running too -- running races at the bus stop before school, mostly. And I too hope that I can pass that on to my children: the fearless hurling oneself into something new, the excitement of the launch. Thanks for this.

Kat said...

Gorgeous. :)

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