Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Warped Reflections

Me Mirror b copyI have two children, ages (almost) 18 and 21 who have asked me on occasion, when they were younger, “When will I be a grown-up?”  Well, when the now 21 year old turned 18 she called herself a “Fake Adult” for the four years that followed, because there was still so much she couldn’t do yet.  The now (almost) 18 year old is wise to his sister’s words and knows he has a few years to go.

It has been difficult to explain to my children that even though they may be old enough to be considered a grown-up at one particular birthday or another it will be years before they actually feel like it – even though they may look like it.

You see, I have a theory about one of the major markers in life when you can finally tell you’ve become an adult.  And, it has nothing to do with what you see in the mirror, I can tell you that.  No, I believe you know you are fully developed and fully cooked when you no longer care about your parental units’ opinions of how you look.  Seriously.  You will not give a fig about how they feel about your overall image — not sartorial, tonsorial or adiposity.  What all that gobbeldygoop means, is that you will, at some stage of your life, reach a point where you don’t give a hairy rat’s backside what the parentals think in regards to your hair, what you wear or what size you’re wearing (or whether or not they think you look fat in those pants).

For me, that day came not long ago when I visited my maternal unit to assist her with some real estate issues she was dealing with.  When I came out of the hotel room, dressed for our very long day out – a day where I knew we’d be rooting around old/empty/funky/dusty houses with reported termites and dry rot — she said (in front of a handful of people, I might add), “Do you OWN a hand mirror?”

Thinking it an odd question, I repeated it, to make sure I’d heard her correctly, “Hand mirror?  Wha?… Why do you ask?”

She waved off my question with her original question, with only a slight change in inflection.  “DO you own a hand mirror?”

I’m not sure what possessed me to encourage the odd line of questioning, but I held it right back up again for inspection.

“Why, exactly, do you want to know if I own a hand mirror or not?”

She looked me up and down and said, “I just don’t think you have the slightest notion of what you really look like.”

I tried to explain that I knew full well what I looked like, thanks to a half century of catching my reflection in bathroom mirrors, full-length closet mirrors and the god awful image the car’s warped rearview mirror served up – but my explanation was truncated by what I considered to be the mother of all conversation stoppers:

“I’m not talking about your… FACE!!”

Ok.  Now I was completely stumped.

“You’re not talking about my… face?  Then, what ARE you talking about?!”

She gave an evil laugh, the kind of laugh that only a truly judgmental parent who loves you fiercely (like the mother lion who’d rather devour you whole, than see a larger predator get at you first) and wants “only the best” for you can. “I’m talking about your DERRIERE.

Now, I’ve used a hand mirror to look at a lot of things in my life (we shall not speak of the time I held it out of my 2nd story bedroom mirror to watch Michael Malvini ride his bike in my neighborhood – but only because he was a cute teenager and I was in the 5th grade and watched too much “Mission Impossible”), but never my butt.  But (no pun intended), I played along.

“How and WHY, pray tell, would I use this hand mirror you speak of – that I absolutely DO own, by the way – to view my backside?”

She shook her head at my thick-headed inability to understand the simplicity of what she was suggesting.

“You have to use a hand mirror to hold over your shoulder in order to view the backside of you in a full length mirror before you leave the house.  Obviously you don’t do that, or you wouldn’t go out looking like…. Well, like… THAT.”

< Sigh. >

That was the day, closing my eyes in complete exasperation and amusement that I realized that I can, quite clearly, see myself in the funhouse mirror that is my Maternal Units’ image of me – but I no longer care about her opinion of that image.

Which makes me… a genuine grown-up.

xo – t.

“’Cause growing up is awfuller

Than all the awful things that ever were.
I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,
No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!”

“I Won’t Grow Up” lyrics – from Peter Pan

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