Mom, you aren’t a girl anymore

March 3, 2008

by Jen Bakken

When I am at home I like to be comfortable. After work, I can’t wait to get out of my uncomfortable work clothes.

I also throw my hair in a ponytail and wash off my makeup in order to feel complete comfort.

Weekends are no different, and my children are used to the way I look when I am relaxed.

I never thought I looked too incredibly different at home, but recently, on a Saturday, I decided to do my hair and makeup.

Immediately, my daughter questioned where I was going. She seemed excited at the possibility we were all getting out of the house to do something.

When I told her I had no plans to go anywhere she asked, “Well, why do you look like that then?”

I didn’t answer right away.

Did I look that horrible without makeup?

I decided I better consult a mirror the next time I made a quick trip to the gas station or the grocery store.

By this time my son was also standing there waiting for my answer.

They wanted to know where I was going. They were looking at me like I was plotting something.

I told them I wasn’t going anywhere then added, “I’m a girl, sometimes girls like to get dressed up and feel pretty for no reason.”

They looked at each other and, while my daughter seemed to be satisfied and understand my answer, my son just shook his head.

“Mom, you aren’t a girl anymore,” he said. “You’re too old to be a girl.”

I waited for him to laugh or say he was just kidding, but it was obvious he meant what he said.

I guess in his world I’m too old to be a girl, and I’m just a mom.

I was able to laugh at this, in my own “too old to be a girl, just a mom” way.

It’s a good thing I can handle these little jabs my children seem to enjoy taking at my self-confidence.

Aging is a subject my dad finds rather funny, but only if it’s about my age.

He is constantly teasing about how close to 40 years old I am. No matter how many times I remind him that I haven’t turned 38 years old yet, he still calls me, “Almost 40.”

Next he’ll begin making note of every new wrinkle, bulge, or grey hair I have.

He has even started sentences with, “Well, a woman your age...”

Do I tease him about being almost 60 years old?

Do I joke about him about having too much hair in the back of his head but nearly none on top?

I try not to, because I know it doesn’t matter how old you are, age is just a number and what matters is how you feel.

And nearing 40 years old or not, I feel good! (No thanks to my children or my dad – who have forced me to invest in every anti-aging cream on the market.)

Because my dear old dad rejoices in joking about my age, maybe he has actually talked to my children about it?

I wonder if he has coached them on the best over the hill jokes?

I think the next time I see my daddy, I may just have to remind him that he is my father and if I am old, that makes him really ancient.

Then I will hug him and say, “I love you, old man.”