Finding My Reflection at 50

Photo by Cindy Funk

The other night I woke up yelling and sweating. No, it was not just another hot flash. It was the repeated nightmare that plays in my head about once every year. I dreamed that I was pregnant again.

50 and pregnant is not something of which my happy dreams are made. In this particular dream I was already in labor (my dreams are about as linear as my life) and talking to my sister. Then suddenly I began to panic, and said, “I can’t’ do this again. I can’t start over. I can’t go without sleep and put on sunscreen repeatedly at the beach and cut up hot dogs and smell dirty diapers five minutes after changing one and watch Barney. I can’t!!”

You never stop being a mom, but as I’m emerging from the condition I have to say that somewhere in all those years I got a little lost. I was like Narcissus, only the face in the water that I was staring at was not my own. I stared so long at the faces and needs of my children that I fell in the water and lost sight of myself.

I can’t remember what I love to do, what I want to buy, who I want to hang out with. I find myself asking my kids their opinions as if they are the Carnac the magnificent.

This month, I am going to being to wade back out of the deep waters to find my own reflection. I know my kids will be relieved, since they get tired of offering up their opinions as I flounder around looking for the right answer. I’m like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride, trying all of the different kinds of eggs to see which type I actually like.

I need to realize that the sports car my son loves might not work so well for my bulging disc, that the hairstyle my daughter loves might make me look like a basset hound, and the restaurant my husband loves might be a little fancy for me (I mean, who really likes getting five crispy green beans and a dessert that could fit into your pill box?).

Donna, I’d like to introduce you to Donna. You all used to know each other well, and liked hanging out together. I realize that she’s dripping wet, but she’s anxious to meet you again.

Donna and Donna join hands and walk into the sunset. They become one and live happily ever after.