Further to my post from the other day about this whole being 40 thing.
I was talking in my last post about how I had this notion once I got to a certain age that I would be a certain way.
And I really did not turn out that way. I’m way too loud and high strung to be a quiet, serene woman…
So another part to this whole being 40 thing, besides officially being Over the Hill (thanks Mother-In-Law for those kicky napkins at my birthday party reminding me of just how old I really am)… is how with age comes a certain freedom.
Freedom from what you used to care about.
I used to hear about how women got to a certain age and could say what they want because they just didn’t care anymore.
They could hang out with who they want because they didn’t have enough precious free time to spend it with people who weren’t true friends.
My mom told me when she got to a certain again, she didn’t’ care what people thought or said. She would live her own life, say what she liked and to hell with anyone who didn’t like it or agree.
So when does that start?
I’m in line. Sign me up.
I’m a people pleaser and I’m sick up-to-here of it.
I want to be one of those Grande dames who don’t give a flying fig over whether you think I could lose ten (or fifty) pounds. I’ll wear my hair long dammit and cover the gray for as long as I can.
Wear a mu-mu to dinner, you say? Lovely idea. Don’t mind if I do and screw you if you can’t appreciate my fashion sense.
Yelling at the kids? Letting them watch TV and play with toy guns? Puuullllease.
You trying to swindle me, you little fart? I’ll tell you off to your face and call the manager over to get him in on the action too!
I demand satisfaction! I demand service! I demand respect!
So does it start at 40?
I think I’m still waiting.
Until a couple of weeks ago.
We were at our campground and the whole area was putting on an early-Halloween night for all the ankle-biters. They could dress up, go trick-or-treating from site to site and at the end of the night, there would be prizes for best costumes and best site decorations.
My middle son was soooo gung ho over this. He worked all Friday afternoon on his costume. All by himself. He painted it, he even gave up time to run around and bike with the other kids so he could work on his masterpiece. I was so proud of him! He did a super job all by himself.
The next day he wolfed down dinner and went running off to meet up with his two brothers and some friends to go trick or treating. On his way, in his costume (which he really couldn’t run in – he mostly just walked very awkwardly because it was all cardboard boxes) a little boy passed by him and I could hear this little snot yell to my boy, ‘you look stupid!’
My son just walked past him, ignoring him. He was on his way to get candy! Nothing was stopping him! I wonder in fact, if he even heard this brat?
Momma Bird did.
And then the little bugger saw me looking at him and from the road by my campsite yelled to me, ‘he looked stupid!’
And that’s when my 40-year-old-hey-you’re-finally-a-grown-up voice came into existence. Something snapped inside me.
And I said to the little kid, ‘actually, that’s my son. So you called him stupid? Guess what kid? You just lost out on candy at my site. Whose stupid now?’
No response. He just walked away. I like to think it was because he was shocked into silence, but maybe he just didn’t give a crap.
So I was sitting at our site for a bit, figuring I would go walk around the area with my friend and then my boy comes back to our site in tears. Everyone had taken off on him and he was left all alone.
My heart ached for this poor boy who was so excited one minute and a broken spirit the next.
Kids are so thoughtless and mean. And I was pretty darn mad that two of those kids were my own children – his brothers! Grrr!
So I took the boy out and we made the rounds of the campsite and everywhere we went, kids slowed down to look at his costume and proclaim, ‘wow, cool costume!’ ‘Best costume ever!’
My son was getting his mojo back… and the fact that he was filling his bag with candy didn’t hurt either. And this started to soothe the raging Momma Beast seething inside me. Carrying a solo cup of red wine during our rounds didn’t hurt either…
After all the candy harvesting, we made our way to the costume contest. There were a bunch of great costumes – you could tell that these were worked on primarily by parents and older siblings. There is no way that while the Rubik’s cube costume was really cool, that the five year old inside of it created that all by herself. I hoped the judges would notice. What would be better revenge for all the rude and ignorant kids out there – my own two included – than to have my middle boy win a prize?
He won first place in his age division! A medal which he proudly displays to this day!
One of the other gals over there started lamenting that the Rubik’s cube didn’t win.
‘Four weeks… four weeks of work and he wins?’
And I lost it again. Pigeon Momma was livid at this point.
I started talking about how at least you could tell that my son’s was homemade and that’s when my friend suggested we go back to our campsite.
Wine might have helped my tongue that night, but now since I heard that little ‘snap, crackle & pop’ inside my head that night, I’m less inclined to put up with crap from other people where my children are concerned.
I still realize they aren’t angels, but I won’t let them be treated poorly anymore without at least sticking up for them.
This is leaps and bounds for the chick who used to quiver over any sort of conflict… actually, I still really do in any other part of my life. Except when it comes to hubby… but after being together for 18 years, we’re on pretty even playing ground when it comes to dealing with stuff. He doesn’t put up my crap, and I don’t put up with his… actually, we’re pretty easy going people and what I consider to be a really good match… ish…
Now if we could just find some time in this crazy life for a date night and get to know each other again…
I digress… Freedom…
So is that a bit of the freedom? I think it might be.
Could it be in the fact that I weigh more than I have in my life, other than when I was pregnant, and I usually don’t have an issue with wearing a bathing suit without being totally covered up?
Let’s be honest here, bathing suits aren’t going back to the long sleeves & bloomers fad anytime soon. So I think I’ve decided to suck it up and just don the bathing suit and be done with it.
Back in my twenties, I didn’t have the best bod, but holy hell, it was a thousand times better than what I’m sporting now – and I would cover it up!
If I had advice to give my younger self, it would definitely be to cherish what I had then in terms of my body. Why in the world did I cover up my bathing suits with t-shirts and shorts? How sad.
So maybe my little piece of freedom for now is being able to embrace all my hills and valleys without caring too much about what people think.
Let’s be honest – they aren’t looking at me anyway unless it is to harpoon me and drag me off the beach to put me out of my misery!
Seriously though – what will this body be like in another 20? Might as well enjoy it while I still can.
Talk about freedom though – in twenty years I might be a drooling forgetful mess. More than I am already.
So maybe I’ll forget to care by then and be hitting the nude beaches for all I know…