Everyone needs someone in their life that they can count on to level with them, to tell them when they have spinach in their teeth. The only reliable source of truth in my life right now is not my mother, not my best friend and because he has learned better over the course of nearly ten years, certainly not my husband — it is the rearview mirror in my car.
Even on those days when I leave the house thinking I look not that bad for a 46-year-old woman with a toddler and too little sleep, my rearview mirror is only too happy to set me straight.
AM: Hi RVM! I’m looking hot today, doncha’ think? I got me a new tube of Tropical Pink lipstick at the grocery store for my new summer look. It looked great on Cindy Crawford on the display. I’m going to look like Cindy Crawford!
RVM: Um, Cindy is an exotic 6-foot tall brunette. You’re a non-descript pasty white 5’4 blonde with gray highlights.
AM: Tropical Pink too bright?
RVM: Just a tad. You could be trying too hard. Didn’t you used to have lips?
AM: Oh. Well, okay. But I’ve got a great attitude. It’s great to be alive! (big smile)
RVM: Speaking of…. Have you heard of this new tooth whitening toothpaste stuff? I’m just saying…
RVM: And while we’re on the topic, do you even own a pair of tweezers?
AM: That was a topic? Tweezers?
RVM: Check the chin sister. It happens.
AM: Okay. Sure. I see what you’re saying.
RVM: And Buff Puff. Buff Puff is your friend. Exfoliate and say goodbye to dull lifeless skin!
AM: Okay tweezers and Buff Puff and whitening toothpaste and lipstick. Anything else?
RVM: And is that tissue paper under your eyes or did a gift bag just explode in your face?
The bright lights of that much truth makes me want to pull the car back into the garage, close the door and leave the engine running. But then I look in that same mirror and catch the gaze of a little boy in the backseat. He is watching me indulge myself in this bizarre ritual of self-inspection. He is giving me a big toothy grin and waving his hand at me like he is washing a window. He’s calling “Hi Mommy! I see you!” to the mirror. He does see me. He sees me. He could not care less if his mommy is 26 or 46 or needs to exfoliate. I resolve to spend more time looking beyond the mirror and less time looking into it.
Then I put the car in drive and head to grocery store for tweezers, toothpaste, Buff Puff, lipstick and a toy for my good boy, because he has taught me the difference between reality and truth. And he makes me feel like I’m 26 again.