This week I feel every one of my 49 years. My nerves are shot. I’m tired and more than a little cranky. I’m in need of a makeover, or more appropriately, a rewrite.
After years of guiltily reading romance novels, I’ve decided to take a page from one and reframe my life. I may even put a picture of my dishwasher dressed in a flowing gown on the cover.
The working title: A Woman Possessed by Love, Family and Her Dishwasher.
Now under the haze of romance writing, I can give myself a makeover that I just don’t have time for in real life.
First things first, let’s deal with my out-of-shape, 49-year-old body that carried three children.
Kathy’s voluptuous figure, more curvy and full than ever before, fits a woman who has lived life fully. Her round hips are her badge of honor from three hard-won and difficult pregnancies.
A few lines and wrinkles? Who needs Botox or plastic surgery? I have a computer and a memory full of romance novels.
Kathy may no longer have the glow of youth, but the sands of time have been gently carved on her still porcelain skin. This has only added character to her unique beauty. Much like a fine wine that gets better with age, Kathy’s beauty reflects a life full of experience. She is a classic beauty that never goes out of style.
Just in case you are thinking I have gone a tad too far, I would like to take this time to remind you that it’s my book.
My favorite thing about romance novels is that all the problems and trials that the heroine endures are wrapped up in less than a thousand pages.
When I was enduring miscarriage after miscarriage, I would have traded my soul if I could have only flipped a few pages ahead to see that I would go on to have not one, but three beautiful children.
Just as I would like to each time I have to watch my kids struggle, or suffer with an illness or be hurt by a friend.
Of course, the chapters I would love to jump over the most are the ones that deal with our beautiful daughter, Lizzy.
Lizzy has been an enigma to me and the medical community since she was six weeks old. We have seen so many doctors, specialists, and therapists that I feel I have earned my own advanced degree.
How can one person have so many issues and delays yet so many gifts at the same time? Watching our beautiful daughter struggle with things people take for granted, such as the ability to express herself when she wants to, is a pain I will never be able to express.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t terrified of what the future will hold for her.
I thought of this Wednesday when Joe and I were watching Lizzy get her blood taken for her semi-annual check up with the endocrinologist. Now that she is 13 and taller than I am, it’s not so easy to keep her sitting still. She’s no longer a baby or little girl. People look at her and us differently now.
What is going to happen as my husband and I get older? What happens when we can no longer take care of her? How can we protect her?
When I get scared and ahead of myself, this is when I would love to put the book of my life down and pick it up at a later chapter. A time when everything is settled, and my children are all grown, safe, and happy.
I know the last chapter I want to read:
Kathy watches her beautiful daughter, the child that no doctor could diagnosis or explain. The child she was told would never live on her own. There Lizzy stood, all grown up. Her beautiful dark hair spilling onto her shoulders, smiling and full of pride as she stood by her paintings. Kathy could see the buzz around her daughter as the critics were touting her daughter as the next “hot” artist. All of a sudden the years of pain, and fear were gone. Lizzy was a happy, independent woman.
Of course, the hardest thing for me to accept is that I’m not the author of any of my children’s stories. My beautiful boys and even Lizzy to some degree, will have to write their own “books” and their own happy endings.
I can only concentrate on mine.
Looking over her life, Kathy, still stunningly beautiful at the age of 85, smiled as she marveled at the happy endings each of her children were able to write for themselves. Though not the endings she may have chosen for them, she was grateful that all three had grown into happy, kind adults.
This is a life and a book worth reading to the end.
*This piece is a re-working of an essay that was first published on the Dishwasher, October 2, 2011, under the title, A Novel Life.