As one might imagine, the topic of “aging gracefully” and general overall “lucidity” has been on the table ever since our two mothers spent a few days with us attending graduation festivities last week. Right before we took my husband’s mom to the airport to catch her flight back to New Orleans, we stopped for a light lunch, which was really just an excuse for a few more minutes of soaking up her wisdom, chatting about life and stuff. That’s when Mimi tossed out this precious gem…
“Well, all I can say is…Y’all will know when I am LOSING IT. Y’all will be able to tell if I ever even walk outside or, God forbid, go anywhere without my makeup on.”
I met my mother-in-law when I was 17, and even back then, as a know-nothing young girl, I pegged her as the true blue, dyed-in-the-wool Southern Belle that she is. One look and you can tell she has some really high standards with respect to appearances, but still, her comment gave me considerable pause. (The fork in mid-air, I-even-stopped-eating-for-a-second kind of pause.) I looked at my hubby in mock concern…
“That may be fine for gauging Mimi’s mental state, but I run all over town without an ounce of makeup on now, so we can’t be relying on that as an indication of when I start LOSING IT.”
“That’s the God’s Honest,” he readily agreed. “Or if you start ramming our cars into one another on our driveway, no one will be worried. We will just know that’s the kind of thing you’ve always done.”
(Touche! I’m sure I deserved that!)
Foolishly caught up in the moment, I couldn’t resist adding, “If I’m an old lady that turns on the faucet and then forgets to turn it off and floods the entire Senior Center, you won’t be panic-stricken, like ‘Oh My God, she is completely losing it!’ You’ll be all calm like, “That’s just her way!”
“And, if you completely fall off the face of the Earth and don’t answer anyone’s phone calls or return their texts, no one will think a thing of it!” Mimi offered, in that sort’ve sympathetic ‘Bless Your Heart’ style only a truly Southern mother-in-law can pull off with charm and ease.
Undaunted, my husband continued, “Or even if I found your car keys in the freezer or fact-checked your embellished statistics and stories, I wouldn’t blink twice!”
“Or if you threw away actual money!”
I get it. I get it. I get it.
He’s just all bent out of shape because one of the first payments I’ve ever received for “published writing” came in the mail the other day and he brought it straight to me, bubbling over with the joy and relief of a man who just realized he might be in a “dual-income relationship” for the first time in 33 years of marriage. I was standing in my closet at the time he ceremonially handed the check to me. We haven’t laid eyes on that check since the initial 2 minute celebration, but I’m sure it’s in my closet somewhere. Besides, it still counts as “getting paid to write” regardless of whether or not you get around to cashing the check.
But that’s all completely beside the point – I’ve got bigger fish to fry here. With no distinct or discernible signs of my own mental impoverishment, my loved ones will be completely clueless. If I start to unravel, how will they be alerted to the utter gravity of my condition in order to render aid? I’ve got to pull my act together somewhat.
I’m turning over the proverbial new leaf. I plan to tone it down and rein it in a bit from here on out. I’ll start by tearing a page out of Mimi’s book and splash a little more make-up on consistently every day, for that dewy-fresh “I’ve totally got my crap together” look!
“Age-defying makeup” just took on a whole new meaning for me…
Bless My heart, Y’all.