I know its a small thing, and about the last thing that should be on my mind. I've spent the majority of my life with unpainted, bitten, chipped, hangnailed and otherwise unbecoming fingernails, so why stop now? When I got engaged to the love of my life this summer, complete with a ring that's a family heirloom and nicer than anything than anything I ever could have imagined owning let alone actually being given, I resolved that I really was, for the first time in my life, going to take care of my nails. I went out and had my first EVER manicure, (such luxury!), and dug out my nail polish that's been coagulating on itself for the past three to five years. It sort of went along with a decision that my life is going to be more together, that I'll stop for fifteen minutes once a week or so and do something solely for myself.
Sitting in class for three hours, I had plenty of time to pick apart the ragged half-moon cookies the remainder of last weeks polish had receded into. I'd wanted my fellow classmates to see me as professional, polished (no pun intended), a woman who has her life together. But really life swirls around me in a chaotic turmoil of cookie crumbs, unceasing noise, toys strewn across the floor, and exuberant energy turning to fall-on-the-floor tired in less than ten minutes flat.
I'm not a mother, but I still have two children. The first is my much younger sister, who got pregnant as soon as she went off to college by her high-school sweetheart. They got married, it didn't work, and she came to live with me. My second child is her son, now just over two years, smarter and cuter than any two-year old monster should be!
|A Rare Moment of Calm|
I read somewhere recently, and I wish I could remember where, that society has no problem with the modern woman having both successful careers and families as long as they manage to still look good doing it. I wish! Whether we are real moms or just have kids at home, aunt-moms, sister-moms, grandma-moms, or Aunt Nana's (as I'm called), we betray the children in our lives in our appearance. Both what is there and what isn't, the smells of perfume or baby powder, jelly on our coats, dog hair on our shirts, the makeup we wear or don't have time to put on, the amount of children's toys at the bottoms of our purses, and, of course, the ragged and unpainted nails. Rather than the labels we are given, it is these small things about ourselves that constitute our identities. Instead of the hat I am currently wearing (parent, grad student, freelance writer, dog rescuer, cat lover, partner, confidante, sister, aunt, daughter), it is instead my faded and chipping nail polish that speaks volumes about my life, if anyone can spare the time to notice. Incidentally I just ran downstairs before publishing this post. My sister was drying her nail polish.