While I was shopping late night at the grocery store, I saw an acquaintance from my early days in LA. He brushed past me quickly and heaven only knows why in the briefest of moments I knew that it was this person I had known for about five minutes ten years ago.
He was wearing a motorcycle jacket and seemed like he was in a hurry. I closed my eyes and hoped he didn’t see me. My cart was filled with gogurt and juice boxes and even if he missed that, I looked unmistakably like a mom in my Banana Republic sweater and sensible ballet flats.
The only vestige of a former late night life was my pink-tipped hair, but suddenly even that seemed sad.
Lately I’ve noticed a shift. It probably happened slowly over time, but I’ve been very busy having babies and running a house. The shift is in the way that men don’t look. Or if they do, the appreciation always seems to be that I look good “for my age.”
While I grew bigger then smaller then bigger again, while the earth continued rotating, I fell out of the running for Hot Young Thing. But look what I’ve gotten in return! A beautiful family, healthy children. Immediately my mind self soothes. I didn’t realize that the male gaze passing me over could sting.
I successfully avoid the long-ago acquaintance, finish my shopping and drive home down the dark and quiet Los Angeles streets. My husband hears the garage door open and meets me outside, carrying in everything I purchased. He tells me that our daughter was hard to put to bed, was acting naughty and exhausting. Inside I think I leave him alone with the kids too much to go out for important errands and wonder if it shouldn’t be the other way around.
I change out of my jeans and into sweatpants and pour a bowl of cereal to replace the dinner I missed with the family. I decide that I need to put more effort into the way I look when I leave the house, then give myself an inner eye roll. I think about my evening as a whole, my life as a whole. Maybe next time I’ll just add a little lipgloss.
This is part of my Mommy Monday series, the one day of the week when I explore all aspects of the parenting ride. Very rarely, like today, I close comments on a post.