Here we are a year older with a few accidental flashes of wisdom in tow.
The Old Year hobbles off stage while the cherubic and diaper-wearing New Year totters into our lives. It seems he is a born partier and had one too many before making his grand entrance.
Unlike the Old Year, some folks age well while the rest crinkle and sag until they run screaming to the nearest plastic surgeon for repairs. Plastic being the operative word because the result is emotionless Stepford Wives type of perfection.
If you doubt this, take a look at folks who indulge in Botox shots. Their brows may be smoother than the last time you met. But watch them as they attempt a simple expression like a raised eyebrow. The result is more of a bug-eyed and vacant look. Please remember to observe the niceties when meeting up with such “enhanced” folks, be kind and try not to stare.
A more positive type of aging can cause another form of astonishment. Be honest. It is a shock to meet a somewhat adult who was a child the last time you saw them. Of course, folks mask their surprise with the usual but overworked remarks.
For example, how many times have you heard: “The last time I saw you, you were knee-high to a grasshopper.” Or, “The last time I saw you, your father had changed one of your major blow out diapers and could barely keep his lunch down.”
Since creativity mixed with a smidgeon of mischief is what this lady tries to practice, consider using a less trite response to cover your shock at how much a once-child has changed.
“The last time I saw you, you were a bulge in your mother’s belly.” We do not recommend saying, “The last time I saw you, you were an indistinguishable squiggly blob.” Of course, not all pregnant women shove a grainy sonogram in everyone’s face, but far too many feel compelled to do so.
We recall with sadness a young woman at work who eagerly shoved a picture on her cell phone in our face. Unfortunately, this writer must confess her response was close to “Ewe, what’s that?”
“That’s my baby,” the woman replied, oblivious to the unintended offensive comment. She was barely pregnant but felt the need to share her joy. Later, she had a miscarriage. But eventually, her sorrow turned to another pregnancy and she had a healthy baby girl.
This writer continues to register shock when she sees evidence that people do not remain frozen in time. Such astonishment includes the discovery that a family friend became old. We forget people remain eternally young or middle-aged in our memories.
Case in point, we recall attending our father’s 80th birthday party. The guests included family and friends we had not seen in quite some time. The resulting expression on this writer’s face was often a slack-jawed stare. How could people change from youthful to old or thin to corpulent and vice versa?
This astonished lady ended up with bitten and bloodied lips and tongue to keep from blurting out the obvious. “You look so much older than I remember.” Or, “When did you get so large?” Neither remark would be appreciated, so she kept her mouth busy with punch and cake.
It is clear to us the phrase “Eye of the beholder” includes not only what we see but also what we wish to see. Somehow the eye is fused to positive memories, and they are never updated to keep up with reality.
For example, when Hubby took his fiancée to visit his sister’s family, her rambunctious young boys hit said fiancée with a two-by-four. The assault not only hurt, but the young woman’s response was offensive to the sister. Imagine the fiancée’s surprise when her husband-to-be berated her behavior. “You hurt my sister’s feelings.”
“Her sons hit me with a two-by-four! Am I supposed to be gracious and smile?”
“You owe her an apology,” the love of her life replied. She does not recall offering the demanded apology.
Fortunately, the boys evolved into fantastic adults.