My leg hair grows inordinately quickly. I choose to see this as a sign of vigor, a sure indication that my youth has not entirely abandoned me and my body continues to thrust forth healthy growth with a fecundity that should inspire awe. I have wrinkles, my children are all grown and gone which makes me feel ancient, I have a hiccup in my giddyup, but man-o-man, can I grow leg hair.
I shave my legs regularly in the summer, because I can see them. With my poor eyesight, I can only see things clearly at a distance, and my legs are quite far away from my face. This explains the problem with with the tuft of hair I noticed growing out of the mole on my cheek . I noticed it in the rear-view mirror while I was driving, which I am still allowed to do although I’m sure my time is limited. The light was gently filtered through the windscreen, and the rear-view was tilted at just the right angle to reveal… not a single hair, not even a couple of hairs. A shrub. A shrubbery of grey hairs waved gently at me in the breeze from the open window. Judging by the almost tropical volume of said shrubbery, I would guess it had been there for quite some time. I can’t see it when I look in the bathroom mirror so it’s still there, and I’ve grown quite fond of it. Men twirl their mustaches, I twirl my mole-hair. It’s a feminist thing.
I am hairy and half-blind, but I’m ok with that because I can shave my legs and I can remember all of my children’s names although I have to pause to accurately report their ages… 20, 22, 24 and 27.
I have a dear friend who has an infant… just turned one… all dimples and curly hair and cuteness personified. My friend sometimes asks me what I did with my children when they were babies, assuming, I suppose, that having raised four I would have some knowledge on the topic. “When did you start them on solids?”… “When did you let them cry at bedtime?”… I smile, and frown, and search my hippocampus, my medulla oblongata, my bank account and my fridge calendar but, nope. Nada. Zip a dee do da day. Those memories have rattled away in a blur of white noise like lego pieces being sucked up the vacuum. I try not to destroy her beautiful new-parent hopes and dreams, but I am forced to respond:
“I don’t remember! That was almost thirty years ago, you! I remember when my child got her nipple pierced, I remember when I found an empty wine bottle in my child’s room, I remember when my child’s speeding ticket arrived in the mail…”
At this point my young-mother friend backs quietly away from me, clutching her infant son in her arms and covering his ears with her hands.
I have hazy sleep-deprived recollections of their infancy, but a vivid post-traumatic tic as evidence of their teen-hood. This explains the grey hairs. None of my spawn currently live with me, and it has taken me several months to come to terms… no… I actually haven’t come to terms with it yet, may never come to terms with it, but I am slowly learning to make it my own. The Empty Nest.
Have you ever seen an empty nest? Such a term engenders visions of crushed eggshells and scattered feathers, membranes from various body excretions dried and twisted into the very walls of the house. Mites. Poop encrusting the floor, which somehow renders the parent nostalgic.
“I remember when Junior used to shit himself. Boy, those were good times.”
It isn’t like that at all.
“I remember when Junior stole bowling balls from the bowling alley and rolled them down Main Street at 3am.”
Some things are better left in the past.
“I remember when Junior ran away in a torrential downpour on her bike, on the highway, and I thought she was probably dead in a ditch for about three frantic, life-altering hours, before she rolled in, soaked and contrite and I could start to breathe again although I had lost fifteen years off my life. Fun!”
Do these memories explain the abundance of grey foliage sprouting unheeded from random places on my face and soul? Probably. But I miss them terribly, those crazy spawn. I’ve spent twenty-seven years with their umbilical cords wrapped tightly around my heart and I can feel myself gasping as those bonds loosen and they drift away to start their own lives. As parents we spend years preparing our children to leave the nest, it’s the ultimate goal, the “vacancy” sign of our success as parents is to have our kids flutter off independently and successfully.
And then we want them back.
There was a time when I didn’t have a free moment to shave or pluck or pee by myself. I remember wondering if I would ever not have someone’s sticky hands glued to mine. Now I have all the time in the world to exfoliate in peace and quiet… sigh. Had I known how much I would miss those sticky hands… but, I can only see things clearly at a distance, after all.
If Marilyn Monroe had lived longer, she would have had mole hair in that beauty mark. Then, mole hair would have become an iconic beauty trend. Just sayin’.
I think I’ll just twirl my mole-hair until my kids come home for a visit.
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