Getting comfortable

Related Posts with ThumbnailsSome of you may find this hard to believe, considering how much I babble on this blog, but I was excruciatingly timid for the first 20 or so years of my life. I was scared of many things, but most importantly I was scared of other people because in my mind they were bigger, better, smarter, sweeter and certainly better looking than I would ever be.

But then I had kids. And I had no choice but to play Mama Bear. I had to go against my natural instincts and be brave, strong and protective -- for the sake of my daughters. And I got pretty good at defending my family.

Then I became an editor and had to ramp up the courage another notch or two. I had to be brave, strong and protective -- for the sake of my staff. I got pretty good at that, too. (Of course, I couldn't save our department from being cut, but that's another story.)

Because of my role as mom and my role as editor, I learned to not care too much what others thought of me. But in the last two weeks, I've had two experiences that point out that in my current role of grandma I've finally aged enough, evolved enough that I truly am comfortable with who I am, regardless of what others may think of me.

The first involved the Roto-Rooter man. Sounds like this could lead somewhere disgusting, but stay with me ... it doesn't. You see, we have lots of trees on our property, lots of roots clogging up our plumbing system and lots of backups that flooded our basement in the few years we've lived here. So this year I decided to be proactive and have the Roto-Rooter-type guy clean out our system before the backup could happen. Well, turns out the hole for him to work on such things is right below the tree where the mourning doves have returned to nest and hatch their babies. So once the cleaning was done, I pointed out to the guy the mama bird who had sat above his head the entire time. He apparently wasn't much for birding and didn't know what the mourning dove was. So I told him. "They're the birds that do this ..." and I proceeded to do the mourning dove call: "ooh AH hoo hoo hoo." Ten, even five years ago I would never have done such a thing, would have been mortified if such an embarrassing sound escaped on its own, much less vocalize it on purpose. The guy glanced at me sideways and mumbled "Oh, I think I know which one you're talking about," and left it at that. I know he thought I was a nut, but I didn't care. At all. And I realize in retrospect what a giant leap that was for me.

An even bigger leap came this past week. Because we have all those trees I mentioned, when hurricane-strength winds (no exaggeration!) hit town a few days ago, one of those trees broke ... right over the neighbor's fence. So we had to call our trusty tree service dude to make the final cut that would save the fence and save us from our wacky neighbor who still carries the bullet in his head from a stint in Iraq. (A sad, sad story, but again, one for another time.)

Before I go any further, let me say that I have really, really, really dark circles under my eyes. (Stay with me; it comes into play.) They're not bags, just circles, gifted to me by my dad. And I hate them. And I never, ever, ever allow anyone to see me without at least some cover-up under the eyes. When the girls had friends stay the night, I'd get up early to shower and slap on some makeup before the kids awoke. Same goes for when relatives would visit. Even when I was in the hospital for a fairly lengthy visit, I made sure I had my cover-up and a mirror for applying it as I lay in the bed. My dark circles were my dark secret.

But now that I'm older and wiser -- and a grandma -- it seems I don't give a cuss about circles anymore, dark, light or otherwise. For when the tree guy -- who has been to our house several times, all for which I was fully prepared and fully covered -- came to fully amputate our tree, I met him at the door fresh from my morning walk with the dogs, smelling I'm sure not so fresh in my sweaty T-shirt, shorts and ponytail ... and no makeup. Not a speck, not a drop. And I hadn't even considered racing to the bathroom to swipe the cover-up stick under my eyes before his arrival. Because I no longer care.

That, my friends, may be one small step for most women but an unbelievably huge leap for this grandma. Trust me on this.

I make weird bird noises. I have dark circles under my eyes. I am no longer timid. I am no longer afraid of what others think of me.

I am grandma. And I am comfortable with that.

Today's question:

What have you become more comfortable with as you've gotten older?