Matriarchal Me

I am one of 28 first cousins on my paternal side. (Yes, I said 28.) Of these two dozen-plus people, I am the oldest.

My father is one of ten siblings. He had five children—I am the first-born.

On my mother’s side, from four siblings, there are six surviving first cousins. And you know what? I am the eldest.

Also on my maternal line, I am the senior second cousin.  (So you see what I am getting at here?)

My siblings (bless their little hearts) revel in reminding me of my age. (Yep, I got it: I am the old one. Nuff said…)

Lately, this insatiable need to acknowledge my ancientness seems to be afflicting my extended family, as well. At a recent family event, one of my much younger cousins informed me that I am the matriarch of our generation. Matriarch? (Where are my orthopedic shoes and support hose?)

At first, I was taken aback to be dubbed a matriarch. (Really, I’m not THAT old, am I?) But then, I really started to think about it. And the more I thought about it, the more I will admit that my younger cousin might, just might, be onto something.

It is true: I am the eldest of our generation. It is also correct that I am the current keeper of the family’s history.

Considering that a matriarch is defined as: “A mother, an older woman who is respected or venerated within a family, the female leader in the family”, being a matriarch doesn’t sound too bad. In fact, it sounds sort of like a compliment. (Although, I still don’t like the “older” part…not at all.)

So, for now, I think I’ll just be a matriarch-in-training. How does that sound? Many, many moons from now, I promise that I will embrace my matriarchal persona. (Bring on the gray hair and laugh lines…. well, maybe NOT!) Until then, I will just keep calm, and matriarch on.


Originally published on 13 February 2016, Matriarchal Me

Middle-Aged Morning

I woke up old this morning. OLD! But I swear, when I went to sleep last night, I was still slightly youthful.

However, at the break of dawn, as I stretched myself from slumber, my body creaked and cracked like tree limbs in winter.

Rising from my bed, every joint and muscle ached—the pain hunching me over like a hag.

As I slowly shuffled to the bathroom, my reflection in the mirror was backlit by the rising sun. Spotlighted in all my early morning glory were fine lines on my face that resembled furrows in a field and snow-white hairs poking out of my head. After that horror show, I averted my eyes. (I wonder if this is the real reason older Abnegation faction members limit mirror time…Hmmm…)

Trudging back to my room, I attempted to get dressed: first up, undergarments. However, when I leaned over, my back froze mid-bend. After much effort and a couple of colorful words, I eventually stood upright again.

The next piece of clothing to don was a shirt. I reached up to slide the t-shirt over my torso. Suddenly, I heard a loud pop like a gunshot. Isn’t hunting season over? I went to the window to see who was trespassing in my woods. Turns out, that sound was no gunshot; it was just my shoulder.

Then came the jeans. Pulling on my pants, I felt a bit like the Tinman after he rusted in the rain. Anybody got some oil for these stiff joints?

Next up was hair and makeup, but recalling what a hot mess I was, I opted for breakfast first.

I needed caffeine, loads of caffeine! Make me a double espresso, STAT! As my coffee was brewing, my stomach growled. “Feed me, NOW!” it roared. I grabbed an apple and took a big bite. I figured that at the rate I am aging, I’d better munch on as many apples as I can before my teeth fall out!

With breakfast complete, it was time to face the music in the mirror. Ugh! Reluctantly, I went back to the bathroom to survey the damage. First, I applied moisturizer…lots and lots and lots of moisturizer. Oy! Oil of Olay is sure making a fortune off of me!

Now that my skin was thoroughly hydrated, I reviewed my options. After careful consideration, I determined that there was no way I was using a sponge and foundation. Perhaps a trough and spackling paste instead? And powder? Well, that too was a no-go. Why would I call attention to those not-so-funny laugh lines?

In the end, I settled on some neutral eyeshadow, a line of brown eyeliner, and a smidge of lip gloss. Staring back at me was a younger me…no beauty queen, mind you, but at least I no longer looked like one of Macbeth’s crones.

Now what to do with this hair? Oh, where oh where is Miss Clairol or L’Oreal when you need them? Since I was not going to wash that gray right outta my hair, I decided to hide the worse of it, pulling my hair up on the sides. And because the sun was not shining as brightly as it had been, I could almost fool myself into believing that those white hairs were merely highlights in my dark blonde locks.

Hey, maybe that’s the answer to combatting middle age: Deceive yourself. Deliberate delusion…yeah, that’s the ticket. Or, perhaps I should just ditch the glasses. In this case, blurry eyesight would be a good thing. Of course, with my luck, I would probably miss a step or trip over something and break my hip… So, the specs stay.

Yeah, yeah, I know…there is nothing I can do about it: I have to accept that I am getting older. No amount of denial will change the fact that time is marching on…all over my body and face. Fine…from now on, I will embrace my soon-to-be elder self. But I don’t have to like it.


Originally published on 24 December 2018, Middle-Aged Morning