The Joys and Perils of Being an Aunt

I was reading Mr. Lady’s blog tonight, and was completely struck by the painful beauty of her words. Go now and read this.

You’re back? You read it? Good.

Ok. Here goes:

I’m not a mom. These loins have not bought forth life. I’ve not been struck with either the joys or the fears of parenthood, of that terrible vulnerability of watching your heart walk around outside your body with no way to protect or defend it from the real dangers of living.

I do, however, have nine (count ’em) nieces and nephews who have no idea how precious they are to me. No idea whatsoever. Regardless of the words I whisper in their ears, the prayers lifted in the dark to an unseen God, the dreams and hopes for their lives. They could not possibly know any of this.

But it is true.

And, dear God in heaven, how I miss them. Every. Single. Day.

And may they, too, wrap themselves up with big red bows. A present for their aunt, who loves them so.

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Ode to a Blue Pedicure

They asked me to stand with them. “In solidarity,” they said.

They asked me to deviate from the norm, from my norm. “It’s exciting,” they said.

They insisted that it would be fun. “It’s your favorite color,” they said.

“You’ll love it,” they said.

And then one day, I did it.

I painted my toenails blue. For solidarity, for different, for fun.

And they were right.

And Then Two Weeks Passed

Best laid plans of mice and saleswomen, and all that jazz. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been running up and down the IH-35 corridor as far north as Dallas and Fort Worth and as far south as San Antonio, and a lot of places in between. Needless to say, I’ve seen a lot of miles in a short period of time.

I’ve also seen my two college roommates, Julie and Tanja, and had cocktails with friends, Pam and Mandy. And let’s talk about all these beautiful, delightful, fascinating women.

Julie and Tanja are two of the people dearest to my heart, having spent some of the most impressionable years of my life in their company. Julie is clever, passionate, and absolutely effervescent. Tanja is thoughtful, determined, and wickedly smart. (Really, you could switch the names around and the descriptions would still apply. They are extraordinary women!) Julie is expecting a son soon, and Tanja is a new mom.

The two of them are more than just a hallmark moment in time to remember fondly; they are part of the fabric of my life, weaving a beautiful pattern on my heart and soul, changing the texture of my little world. I owe them debts of gratitude for kindnesses large and small, and I just love them.

Pam was my roommate at BlogHer this summer and an online friend of several years, and Mandy is a new friend introduced just this week. They are funny, witty, fascinating women, and I hope to spend more time in their company and to get to know them both better. With cocktails.

What’s been both surprising and reassuring is the way the conversations with each of these lovely ladies has the tone of just picking up where we last left off – whether that was a month ago or a year ago or for the first time today.

And here is where I make a little confession: I have always yearned for some magical life-long friend. You know what I mean: the girl you met in first grade and stayed friends with forever. You double-dated in high school and were bride’s maids in each others weddings. You talk on the phone almost every day, even now. And for me, at least, that’s a fantasy, especially given the fact that my sister totally and completely qualifies here. (Note: that’s the problem with fantasy. You ignore the blessing in your midst.)

These friends I have now are life-long friends, whether we met nearly 20 years ago or more recently or at birth. What is suddenly more important to me, and I think to most women I know, is that our friendships are deep and real and honest. That we can be exactly who we are with each other, without fear or regret.

I was struck by a part of the conversation with Tanja and Julie. Our lives have taken us separate and interesting places and yet some of the fundamentals (faith, beliefs, values, ethics, and such) have taken similar though sometimes winding paths to bring us again to a new, different common ground. And now, looking at each other, we see those same kindred spirits that drew us together in the first place.

We’ve changed so much and not at all.

Red Lipstick

I think every woman should have a tube or three of red lipstick, one that is absolutely perfect for her skin-tone and personality. I happen to have about a dozen tubes of red lipstick, because I just love it and can’t resist new colors.

But, for posterity, I’ll share my current favorite: NARS Rouge D’Enfer*

It’s luscious and satiny, goes on perfect every time even without lip liner, and it moisturizes lips all day long. I always feel like a million bucks wearing it. And unlike many other red lipsticks I’ve tried, I don’t feel like “HERE COME JENNIFER’S LIPS!” Mostly, I feel like, “Watch out world, here comes Jennifer!” And that’s a pretty good feeling.

*Should I be worried that Rouge D’Enfer means “Red From Hell”? Because it sounds . . . naughty? . . . wicked? . . . sinful? Ou peut-ĂȘtre “Rouge D’Enfer” est parfait pour moi. Non?

Roses Are Red, Hot Wax Is Blue

And Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit is the best smelling, least painful wax kit ever. Smells like tea roses, comes with a pre-wax oil that actually does keep the wax from tearing your skin off, and doesn’t require wax removal strips.

Did I mention it doesn’t hurt? Well, it hurts a little of course. You are ripping hair from the root, after all. BUT, it’s nothing like anything else I’ve ever used, even better than a professional spa hair removal treatment.

Anyway, good stuff here and totally worth it.