LSM: “So, Mom, do you happen to know where my 5th grade school picture is or another portrait that was taken around that time?”
LSM’s mom: “Umm…well, I’m not sure. Maybe I have one up in Dad’s closet. I stored a lot of the older ones there when we had the new pictures made of all of you recently.”
LSM: “If it’s not too much trouble, could you look? If you have it, I’d like to get it so I can use it for an “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” party. The hosts have asked us to send a picture of ourselves at that age.
LSM’s mom: Several beats of silence. “Uh, oh, okay. Uh…are you sure you want to do that?”
LSM: Silence (channeling cell phone commercial, LSM loses connection totally and has to call back)
LSM’s mom: “That was just like those cell phone commercials.”
LSM: “I know. Actually, I figured you were going to say something mean to me, so I hung up on you.”
LSM’s mom: “Well, Honey, it just wasn’t your best age.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I was a 5th grader at the height of the “wings” phenomenon. I have curly hair. These two things do not go well together, but I was undeterred by such a minor detail. The alpha female of the 5th grade had perfect, Farrah Fawcett-like wings to go along with her high heel clogs. If my mother was going to insist on being so unreasonable as to not allow me clogs with more than a one-inch heel, I certainly was going to avail myself of the wings. Someone neglected to tell my hair that, however, and it insisted on curling up in little pieces all around my head.
Did I mention the huge, thick glasses? I didn’t think so.
Why don’t girls today seem to go through that terribly awkward stage? Dancer Girl had a tiny bit of it, but nothing that lived up to her dear old mom. And, at eleven, Gym Girl is about as far from awkward as you can get. I’m a bit bitter.
But that won’t stop me from sharing the picture if my mom can either master the use of a scanner or get it to me in the mail in time. And haven taken the time to ponder a bit, I think I also won’t dread turning forty in March quite so much. Because I’ve realized that in the 28 years since then, I’ve not only grown into my hair but also into my skin.