I’m pretty hot for someone nipping at the heels of Medicare. Well, about as hot as one can get without Botox and Liposuction. People I haven’t seen in ages always tell me, “You haven’t changed a bit,” and I always reply, “Neither have you,” and we both know we’re lying through the teeth we still have left. Yet, like DeCaprio on the iceberg as he watches the Titanic sinking, we cling to the hope that there’s a hint of truth in there somewhere, and we actually do look as good as we did way back when. And so, as I watch my youthful glow settle into the sunset, I vow to hold onto it tightly and preserve what remnants I still possess.
In order to maintain my girlish figure, for instance, this year I’ve been sweating my way through senior aerobics and jazzercise classes. The delightful result is that the muffin-top protruding over my hip-hugger jeans has diminished enough that I only feel moderately guilty snacking on the miniature candy bars I have stashed in the back of my pantry.
And I’ve been faithfully drowning my face in moisturizer since I was in my twenties, so the wrinkles are not too visible – unless I forget to put on my make-up. All things considered, I still say that I look pretty good for my age. Apparently, my granddaughter doesn’t think so.
“You look better without your glasses, Mimi,” my six year old granddaughter gratuitously offered one day while I was babysitting.
“Yes, Mimi thinks so too, dear. But unfortunately, she can’t see you without them,” I sigh and silently curse those damn mono-vision contact lenses I’m unable to wear because my aging brain can’t coordinate my two eyes into one focused unit.
Fast forward a few days. I’m chatting with my daughter and she casually mentions that my curious granddaughter has asked what I looked like when I was a young mother, like my daughter is now. Interesting, I think. Why is my granddaughter suddenly obsessed with the way I look? Maybe she’s hoping she’ll grow up to look as good as I do – or maybe she’s afraid she will. Regardless, I promise to dig through some old family photos and see if I can find pictures of myself as a gorgeous young mother.
A week later I show up at her house with two sets of example photos taken of me when I was thirty-something and forty-something respectively. I deviously select pictures that also include both of my daughters when they were much younger as well. I figure it might detract from how much I’ve changed and put the focus of ridicule on them. That’s me - shameless Mommy Dearest.
My daughter looks at the first one and winces - reminded of how dorky she looked with heavy fringed bangs at age six. She practically gags upon seeing the second photo, taken when she was sixteen. “Geez, I looked like a stuffed sausage in this one. Wasn’t that your sweater I was wearing? How on earth did I ever let you talk me into that? It must have been one of your Mommy Dearest moments.”
My reputation precedes me.
“No, I just wanted to be sure all our colors coordinated, that’s all. And you didn’t have anything that matched so you wore something of mine,” I snort back at her, secure in the logic that belongs only to desperate mothers of once-teenage girls.
Undeterred, I hand my granddaughter the picture of me in my thirties, resplendent in a teal blue silk dress and permed hair that frames my face like an explosion in a spaghetti factory. “Which one is Mimi?” I ask, confident she will recognize me instantly.
“I don’t know,” she replies with the wisdom of the clueless.
I try again with the second picture; where I now have short hair and sport a pink cable knit sweater. “Which one is Mimi?” I ask with hope in my voice.
“Hmmm,” she contemplates for what seems like ages. “This one?” she guesses at long last.
“Right!” I shout; triumphant that I have finally proven how little I have changed in almost twenty years.
Pleased with herself for making a correct selection, she asks if she can keep the pictures. I gladly oblige and tell her to show them to her younger sister in a few years, so she can also guess “Which one is Mimi?”
At least I’ll get one more shot at being recognized for the hot Miss Medicare I’m sure to become.