This morning I took a really good look in the bathroom mirror. I had to climb halfway onto the counter to get to it, no mean feat for this big ol’ jellybum of mine.
I started counting the wrinkles. I lost count. Noticed my eyebrows are turning gray. And thinning out. Also realized it doesn’t matter how many times I color my hair, or what color I use, the fact is pretty clear. It’s gray. Way.
“Ma. What’re you doin’ layin’ on the counter?” Sunnybuns asked, looking at me with complete disdain. He’s mastered that look. I realized in a split second he had a fleeting moment of compassion, thinking his dear old mother was having a seizure on the countertop.
I rolled to and fro on my girth, one leg dangling down to the floor, toes not touching, the other hiked up on the countertop to scoot me right to the face of the mirror. It was quite the sight. And not a pretty one, I must admit.
“Countin’ my wrinkles. Wanna help?” I asked, looking at him in the mirror, holding up a pair of tweezers.
“You’re counting with a pair of tweezers?” he asked, slowly being drawn in.
“I’m not counting with the tweezers,” I said, looking back at my reflection,”those are for pulling the hairs out of my chinny-chin-chin.”
“That’s gross, Ma,” he grimaced.
“Yes, son, I know. But what’s really gross is finding one that’s obviously been there for a long time ... and everyone’s noticed it but me!”
He was intrigued.
“Which one?” he said, leaning over the countertop.
I turned my face toward him, awkwardly, trying not to slide off.
I pointed up under my chin.
“See that one?”
He shook his head.
I looked back in the mirror and found it, grabbed hold with the tweezers and turned back toward him. A scene out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. All that was missing was the screeching cackle.
He reared back, appalled that his mother had more facial hair than his father.
“Ugh! Stay away!” he said nervously.
“C’mon! Don’tcha wanna pull it?” I asked, fearing that he actually might.
“No!” he said with a chuckle. “That’s creepy.”
I turned back toward the mirror.
“Mmmhmm, you’re tellin’ me! Wanna help me count the gray hairs in my eyebrows? It’ll be a good math lesson.”
“Ma! You need to stop. You’re startin’ to scare me.”
“Just wait’ll my teeth start fallin’ out,” I said, with my chin jutting forward, “you can paint my face orange at Halloween and just sit me outside. I’ll be the greatest jack-o-lantern you’ve ever seen.”
“Are your teeth really gonna fall out?” he asked, wide-eyed.
“Well, much as we want to, we can’t make ‘em last forever! That’s OK though, I’ll be happy to have dentures! I’ll be able to pull my teeth out every night before I try to read you a story. It’ll be the funniest thing you’ve ever heard in your life! Like tryin’ to talk with marbles in your mouth!”
“Will you put your teeth in a glass? Like Nana did?” he asked, slightly green around the gills.
“Mmm, probably. Be fun to have some that wind up and chatter though, wouldn’t it??”
We both laughed.
I slid off the countertop and put the tweezers away.
“Are you finished?” he asked, heading out the door.
“Not quite,” I said, bending over to pull up my pants leg, “I think I need to shave my legs ... whaddya think?”
He made a sound, clapped his hand over his mouth, and ran out the door.
I turned back and looked at the mirror, smiling.
Hmm ... this getting old and gray thing might just suit me to a T.
Ellen Lambert is a former Guyton resident.