I spend Labor Day with my grown daughter. Once again, she volunteers to be my personal shopper and David, bless him, minds the girls while Jenn and I scoot off to a local shopping mall to boost the economy. Armed with one credit card, we manage to find sale items for the entire family: girls’ back-to-school dresses, David’s back-to-university shirts, a new school wardrobe for me and a few nifty tops and leopard-print dress for Jenn (yes, it looks much better than it sounds).
I have been self-conscious of my weight gain and standing in front of a dressing-room mirror, trying on clothes, is an exercise in humility and reality.
“Mom, what is … is.”
I struggle to come to grips with my shape and allow myself to be seen by a daughter whose own shape in the dressing-room mirror reminds me so much of the woman I was at her age. She looks lovely in the new tops and dress. I feel melancholy at the realization that who she is now is what I was then.
Suddenly, I’m a grandmother in my sixties and my daughter is heading toward her forties. My daughter is the only one to see me exposed like this. She brings all sorts of clothes into the dressing room and I wrestle with the image looking back at me, with who I am, am not.
I remember my mom, at the age of 71, telling me that the person she saw in the mirror was not the person she felt like … in her mind, she was still very much the young, vibrant, shapely woman of her youth.
I want to feel like that. I want to let the younger, dark-haired, thinner version of myself come out to play. Today, however, she stays hidden.
Today, I must be content with reality.
A dressing-room mirror is a harsh mistress.