The Parent Trip – Aging

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something. It was silver and shiny and seemed to be catching every beam of light … A giant grey hair.

  • Feb. 1, 2015 7:00 p.m.

By Shelby Cain

The other day I was picking Five up from school. I was gathering her armloads of belongings like a personal servant while she ran around ignoring me, when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something. It was silver and shiny and seemed to be catching every beam of light in the room. I grabbed Five and brought her into the bathroom with me. As I leaned into the mirror, which was unnecessary, Five watched me intently. Yup. There it was. A giant grey hair. It looked like a silver rope attached to my scalp. Why are they so much thicker than the other good hairs? Now, please don’t get me wrong. This is not my first grey hair. My issue with this one was the length and proximity to my face. I generally like to pluck them as soon as I see them shimmering near my hairline. This baby had snuck through my defenses. I let out a “Holy…” something as I grabbed the shiny intruder and yanked it free. I turned to drop it into the garbage can and saw the look of concern on Five’s face, which may have been mirroring my own. She looked up at me, her big brown eyes unblinking, and asked “Are you going to die Mommy?” Oh boy. I may have over-dramatized the hair. “No honey, of course not! Mommy’s just being silly. It’s just a grey hair. Totally normal. It’s a part of getting older.”

I smiled. But deep down I know where that hair, and the rest of its determined army, came from. Lately I’ve had the nasty habit of lying in bed at night, worrying. If I have something legitimate to worry about then I’ll focus on that. If not, I seem to start worrying about anything at all. I especially like to concentrate on things that I can do NOTHING about. I worry that the kids are growing up and I’ll miss them being little. I worry about interactions I had with people that day. Did I say the right things? I worry that my kids should have another pet. The other night I spent an hour mentally re-writing a speech I gave at a wedding two months ago. (I made some huge improvements. Damn.) But what is the point of all this? And why now? It seems like the kids are finally sleeping through the night and things are getting a bit easier and now would be a great time to catch up on those five years of interrupted slumber. And really, what does worrying ever get us? Besides insomnia and some grey hairs, of course. As a wise man once said, “Don’t worry, be happy.” I promise I’ll try.