Looking back, I think I’ve been going through a mid-life crisis since I was 36, when I realized I’d never be a rock star. Or the host of my own television talk-show. Or taller.
For the most part, I’ve handled those realizations
by drinking vast quantities of liquor as well as the next woman, pushing them out of my mind so I could go about my day-to-day life as a housewife without screaming in abject horror over having fulfilled the soul-crushing prediction of my fourth grade teacher, Miss Niles, who’d scrawled on my report card: “HAS THE I.Q. OF A GENIUS BUT THE SELF-MOTIVATION OF A SLOTH.” (Thanks, bitch.)
And, for the most part, my tactic has worked. I can look in the mirror every morning without seeing the fine lines around my eyes, or noticing that my gray hairs are coming in curly, whereas the rest of my hair is straight. That’s because I don’t put my glasses on until sometime after my coffee has kicked in, by which time I’m far too behind in my daily chores to bother tending such things. Also, I’ve reached an age where I no longer dither about what I’m going to wear for the day. The only decision I have to make is whether I’ll be wearing the black sweatpants, or the blue ones, and that choice is made simple by checking the color of my cleanest t-shirt.
Up until recently, I was so busy
drinking being a housewife that it was easy for me to ignore the fact that my oldest child, my beautiful daughter, will be turning 21 this summer (and, thus, no longer a reliable designated driver) and that my baby boy, who’ll turn 12 next weekend, is unmistakably in the first throes of puberty…and almost as tall as me. Besides, every birthday they celebrate is another chance to call my mother and point out that, contrary to what she’d once told me, I didn’t starve, strangle, disown or misplace my kids. Yay, me!
Then today, while cutting out coupons, I ran across one for a baby pacifier twin-pack — or, as we used to call them, binkies! They were absolutely adorable: one was painted to look like big, red kissy-lips while the other looked like a bunny nose. Cute little binkies, with a one dollar off coupon, y’all! But I didn’t need to clip it, because MY KIDS ARE TOO OLD FOR BINKIES AND THEY’LL NEVER BE BABIES AGAIN!!!
As irrational as that realization sounds, it’s nothing compared to the sound that came out of me right at that moment — a weird half-sob, half-laugh which, if anyone had been around to hear it, they’d have thought was a pretty awesome burp. But I knew better, just as I knew why I clipped that coupon, anyway, despite my kids being to old for binkies: GRANDBABIES.
Sure, my eggs are too pickled to produce more offspring, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t. And, no, my daughter isn’t pregnant (that I know of) and she’s not married (or even, according to her Facebook status, dating anyone). But you never know. After all, she is turning 21 this summer and, as a good percentage of us know from experience, booze is often the first ingredient in baby-making. Not that I’m trying to rush her, mind you.
Even so, statistically speaking, I’m likely to become a grandmother in the next four years, which still puts me under 50 when it happens. You know what that means: I went from being a tired, slightly disheveled, frumpy middle-aged housewife to (future) HOT GRANDMA in a matter of seconds, all thanks to clipping that coupon.
Suddenly, my midlife crisis is over.