On Aging by Terry Wilson

I have 17 different kinds of eye cream—OK, maybe only 13, but more are arriving by mail, any day now. Hydroxatone is supposed to take away the dark circles but after about 4 months of spreading it under my eyes and also on my eyelids that don’t even have circles, I can’t see much difference. I already canceled Dermitage which was being sent to me every month, and none of these potions are cheap! I ordered Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty because Cindy looks so good and supposedly it’s made from some melon found only in the French countryside, but it did nothing. And when I called to send it back, the representative said that it was too late; the trial period had ended, and now I’m stuck with a lot of Meaningful Beauty.
I have Suzanne Sommers’ Thigh Master to keep my chubby thighs in line, and I have 14 quarts of hair gel, but I’m powerless over my hair and my life has become unmanageable. Aging is basically hopeless, though later tonight I’ll be ordering some Nopalina for the inflammation in my knee. It’s made from the Nopal cactus which survives in the arid Arizona desert—3 ounces a day and your soreness is supposed to disappear. I hope it doesn’t taste bad.
Sometimes I ask my husband how I look before we go out.  I’m not always dressed up, but sometimes I am and I say,
“Mark, do I look OK?”
“You look great,” he says, his head in the closet getting his coat. He’s halfway out to the car and I yell after him.
“But you didn’t even glance at me! How do you know how I look?”
“You always look great,” he says, fiddling in his glove compartment. Then his eyes meet mine. “You look fine!”
“Fine?” I say. “What does that mean? Don’t butchers say a cut of ham is fine?”
I see my mother aging and now she has dementia, I hate to say. Still, her skin is as soft as tissue paper, the skin of her face especially, but even on her arms and hands. Once during her 90th birthday party a few yrs. ago, she demonstrated once more how she loves to be the star. I had given her these warm and soft white furry gloves and scarf for those cold Buffalo winters. As we all sat on the couch and opened gifts for her, she put each glove on slowly and then the scarf around her neck. It was November so she was probably cold, and as my sisters and brothers read her these sentimental cards, “I love you Mom; you’re the best Mother anyone could ever have. You’re so kind and loving…” she yelled, “Are you done yet?” And all the while, her hands were in the air, in front of her face as she watched them moving in the white gloves, making wave motions for all to see like she was touching the wind, her hands flying free like Marcel Marceau, expressing her joy at still having hands, still being alive.

17 thoughts on “On Aging by Terry Wilson

  1. That was beautiful, Terry. The end, I mean. Really beautiful.

    and, I laughed throughout, honestly. I really enjoyed myself reading this.

    By the way, I’ll take any creams and lotions you’ve given up on- I’d love to give ’em a try.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments, Carolyn and Libby! Carolyn, I have a drawer full of old creams but they may not smell as good now! And Libby, yes, my Mom is a character who gets more eccentric every year. I’m so blessed to have these memories of her.

  3. I like the subject because it afflicts us all. Beauty is packaged everywhere as ‘Hope in a jar.’ Men tend to be in denial about getting older while women are obsessed with the entire process. Some men remind me of your husband, they’re kind, but believe me, they do note the wrinkles and droopy breasts. The ending was great- those gloves!

  4. I like the specifics of this piece, the way it moves from the personal to the family to the universal. I can really relate to the promise of products. I have so many, but keep getting drawn in by the allure of the next, the next . . . I go through the same thing with all the jeans that promise to make you look ten pounds thinner. Really? The quest to be able to face our aging, sagging faces and bodies in the mirror is endless. Never mind, I am going to spend big bucks this week on a “stab” at Restylene to treat those “marionette” lines.

  5. You’ve done it once again! Gotten to the heart of the matter in a light-hearted yet meaningful way. It’s always a joy to read what you’ve written!

  6. Thanks, everyone, for your wonderful comments! I so appreciate you reading my piece and checking out Miriam’s blog. And yes, aging…..it’s a hero’s quest.

    Sherites, let me know if the Restylene works! 😉

  7. LOL–I love the lines about being stuck with Meaningful Beauty and powerless over your hair… and the image of your Mom’s hands is a lovely place to end, for now… I look forward to more!

  8. I love this! Such a wonderful juxtaposition with our own battles with aging…
    and then the poignant desciption of the Mom’s dementia. Bright, engaging and very well done!

  9. I love this piece!! Well-done, Terry!
    It is a brilliant mix of funny–that description of the elixir of youth chase we all do is hysterical–and bittersweet. The poignant transition to the story about your Mom is unexpected and we catch our breath at the power of this universal experience, as well.
    Thanks for a good read.

  10. Great piece Terry. I love the part about asking Mark how you look, and he tells you without glancing at you. That’s so men. The ending is very bitersweet, and emotional too. And as always your humor barrels through and gets to the heart of the issue.

  11. I feel lucky for this glimpse of your mom, waving her gloved hands through the air like that, Terry… Just bought some pricey face cream myself this week, tho am skipping yoga in favor of more sleep tonight. Aging. Hope I can regard it as an adventure & appreciate being an ‘elder’… Heartening to be in good company, that’s for sure… Thanks for this piece.

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