Warning… profanity ahead…
My temples are turning white.
WHITE! I mean, wtf is this? I've been coloring my hair for years and thanks to the best stylist EVER, I don't have to worry about white or gray hair. But every once in awhile (meaning all the time) I end up waaaay overdue for a color and then I find ALL the white hair.
Not gray… but white, like, little old Asian lady white.
It's depressing and I'm not one to get depressed easily about my age. I've actually always been proud of my age because I've earned every year I've been alive. I've survived crap I don't even remember, and a lot of other things that I won't go into, but I've earned every second of this life that I'm grateful for every day.
But now… I'm barreling toward fifty and that, I'm not so sure I like. Being in my thirties was okay and even my forties were acceptable but fifties are one step closer to false teeth, osteoporosis, Ben Gay, and everyone talking to me like I'm a five year old.
My birthday just passed and I'll admit something that I haven't told a soul. I'm freaking out about turning forty-six. I never freak out on my birthday and openly mock those who do. It's just another year… it doesn't mean anything, I've always said.
This year is different. Maybe it's because my oldest son is now taller than me or every time I look at a donut I gain five pounds because my metabolism has gone into reverse. Maybe it's because everyone calls me ‘Ma’am’ and I never get carded anymore. Maybe it's because I could be every twenty-something’s mother that I encounter and often do end up wanting to mother them. Maybe it's because my youngest son doesn't like to be my cuddle bug anymore or maybe it's because of all this damn white hair.
All. Of. This. Damn. White. Hair.
I don't know what it is.
I just know that I had to search my drawer for the anti-wrinkle cream I bought five years ago when I didn't need it, because my eyes are getting puffier. I also can't wait between hair appointments as long as I used to, and not eating for a week no longer causes me to lose five pounds. My body is betraying me and I suddenly begin to understand the lure of Botox and liposuction.
If I'm being honest with myself, I think that what bothers me the most is that in five short years my oldest son will be close to graduating from high school with his brother right behind him. I already feel like they're slipping away, even though I know there’s still more time. I realize that I'm just doing my job as their mother to prepare them to go off on their own but the thought that they'll be gone soon leaves a pit in my stomach.
I still think of them as my babies even though they're not. They're becoming young men with thoughts and opinions of their own; their personalities strong while their hearts find their way. The thought of not seeing their faces or hearing their voices every day makes me feel a little lost.
I know that when they leave that I'll have more time to write and focus on myself. It'll be quieter and more peaceful without the noise and the fighting, the laughter and the sounds of play. Their absence will give my husband and I time to reconnect as a couple and even let us travel the world if we want. Maybe I'll just adopt a hundred dogs instead.
But dammit if it all isn't going way too fast.
There's too many of those last times. The last time we read a story or cuddled every night. The last time they preferred me over their video game, Fortnight. The last time they thought I was the most important person in the world and absolutely and completely right about everything. The last time they thought I was cool. The last night they slept with their “good-night light.”
While our relationships continue to evolve and grow, soon there will be even more friends, and then girlfriends, and I'll continue to fall lower and lower on the totem pole. My poor mommy heart just isn't ready for that yet. I'm still missing their cuddles and kisses and am not ready for the total teenage revulsion and disgust that's bound to come within the next couple of years.
I'll admit, I don't care that much about all of the white hair. I mean, I do or else I wouldn't have such a great relationship with my stylist. While I do care about the fact that I'm firmly planted in middle-age and that dancing in a club and looking cool is no longer an option, that's not what bothers me.
I think it's that the white hair signifies the impending end of every bit of my youth. Days of babies and bottles are long gone, replaced soon by my children's upcoming driver licenses and curfews. I know that I'll need to fill my hours that were once consumed with being needed by little boys, with other things.
I also know that getting older isn't the end of anything. It's the beginning of so many things. When I'm done whining, I come back to my senses and realize that a birthday only signifies a new start, and an opportunity to reevaluate, regenerate, and redirect.
It's only a little bit of white hair after all.
Thank God for my amazing stylist because once she's mixed the magic, age means absolutely nothing and suddenly everything has changed. My perspective is better and even though time hasn't reversed, I can once again appreciate that this is how things are meant to be.
My children often ask why I miss them so much as babies, and my answer is more about me than it is about them. I don't miss the sleepless nights and the endless exhaustion but I do miss their soft skin and snuggles anytime I wanted them. I miss knowing everything about them and being the only influencer in their life. While I miss who they once were I'm incredibly excited for who they will become and who I will also become in the process.
I know that this is how it's supposed to be.
It's exciting, exhilarating, emotional, and terrifying all at once. I love it and hate it, embrace and deny it but in the end I cannot stop it. Time moves on with or without my approval and I can scream about the white hair or I can do something about it. I can mourn the loss of my life as a new mommy or I can embrace my life as a mother of soon-to-be teens.
I know in the end I'll do what I always do and I'll embrace it. If I'm really lucky I'll get to continue on this incredible journey of life and I'll be grateful.
For every damn second.
And every white hair on my aging head.
About the Author: Jennifer Sivec writes beautifully broken stories with heart.
She is attracted to and writes stories with characters that are complicated, flawed and completely imperfect. Her books are often a reflection of life, encompassing difficult subjects such as cancer, addiction, abandonment, and abuse. She writes with a raw, complex, yet hopeful approach often weaving tragic stories with honesty and grace, creating unforgettable characters.
Jennifer has been writing since she was in the fourth grade but didn’t publish her first novel until 2014, and has been writing non-stop since. Her passion for reading and sharing stories gives her perspective and peace of mind.
She lives in Ohio with her husband, two boys, and two dogs who create balance and levity for her. She loves her crazy life and wonderful readers, and is grateful for all of it, every day.
Whatever your nest looks like, it's the people and animals in it who make it a home. This page is dedicated to all things family: raising kids, juggling schedules, corralling pets, or navigating changing parental relationships.