So, I can excuse the few instances of "excuse me, ma'am" that I've gotten since I hit my mid-twenties a few (several) years ago. I can excuse not being carded anymore at the ABC store or when buying beer. And I can even forgive my cousin's 8 year old daughter who answered "um, 40?" when she was asked how old I looked. She doesn't know any better, bless her heart.
I work in an industry where I can see people and their birthdates all the time to compare, and while sometimes I think "wow, she does not look a day over 26" when I see a particularly well-kept middle ager, a lot of times I am surprised to look down and see someone younger than myself who looks pretty ragged. For reference, I am 31 (and a half). And I think I look pretty spot-on early thirties.
But recently two occurances have happened that make me think that the stress of life as a mom must really be dragging me down. First, there was that phone call a few weeks ago from a friend at church who needed advice. Now, I'm very flattered that anyone looks up to me when it comes to spiritual/marital advice, truly I am. And I'm very happy to lend an ear and the best advice I can muster when someone trusts me enough to share a tough life situation with me. Especially for this particular person, who I have grown close to.
But the dagger really felt deep when she said, "I mean, I'm so young, I'm only 29, and I really am glad I have an older woman who has experienced so much to confide these things in." My husband can attest that for one of the few times in my life, I was rendered speechless for a moment, almost like someone had thrown a bucket of ice water on me and it jumbled my poor, senile brain. How old does she think I am? was the question on my mind, then and now. I'm scared to ask her.
I had just recovered from this incident when my dear loving husband told me as we were lying in bed last night, "I was looking through so many old photographs from when we first started dating and our honeymoon, and man we look so much older now," he paused briefly before continuing, "I mean, you've aged a lot more than me in that time, but..." ICE WATER IN THE FACE AGAIN. As soon as I could speak without spitting fire at him I said, "yeah, you can file that statement right under 'things you should never, ever say to your wife under any circumstance." He needed more explanation. So I said, "babe, it's right there with 'yes, sweetheart, those pants make your ass look 10X bigger'."
After he tried arguing with me for a while, I finally just had to say "Well, fine then...the only reason you haven't aged as much as me is because all of our friends have told you for 10 years that you look like a 40 year old."
That "don't go to bed angry" rule? Yeah, not so much last night.