"Oh, you're so right," she said at one point. "You seem like one of those cool moms."
And it was like nails on a chalkboard to me.
I know it was meant as a compliment, but I no more have had my shit together than any other mom. I happen to be a few years beyond high school with my kids and so I have perspective. I can look back on those years and say we made it, we didn't strangle each other, they are neither drinkers or partyers, they have plans and goals for their life, they all work incredibly hard. We still like each other most of the time these days.
That doesn't make me a cool mom it just makes me fortunate.
In the Facebook world there is often comments about posted pictures that are some version of this.....
"SMOKING HOT MAMA!"
That, too, makes me cringe. Hot mama?
A cool mom seems like the kind of woman who would let her kids and their friends drink in the basement when they're thirteen because "they may as well do it here where I can keep an eye on them." A hot mom seems like the kind of woman who drinks with them while wearing her daughter's American Eagle skinny jeans and halter tops.
It's all so Kardashian.
It has always been my habit to observe women who are about ten years older than me. What makes them stand out? In a youth-obsessed culture what is their attraction?
Working in retail for so many years made it easy and there are two women that I'll always remember. One was dressed in head to toe black and wearing red ballet flats. My guess was that she was seventy. The other was a woman who bought a funky skirt and was so thrilled, so excited to wear it that she couldn't contain herself. She was bohemian by nature, the other was more conservative, but what both had was serenity.
The kind that comes with being happy in your own imperfect skin.
As I age a bit more each day and sixty isn't all that far away, I strive for content status. Loving little things like red flats and patterned skirts but noticing big things like the fall leaves, a glass of wine under a fingernail moon and an old photo of my grandma and aunt that makes me smile every time I pass by it.
Just two of the long line of women in my life who showed me over and over that the best thing somebody can say about you is that you have some up in your giddy.