All Dressed Up with Someplace To Go

Mar 5 2012

I painted my toes with bright pink shiny nail polish this weekend because I, my friends, get to go away later this week on a ladies-only trip to celebrate two girlfriends and their milestone birthdays. Happy 30th and 40th, friends! I cannot wait to play with you!

From Wednesday through Sunday, you can find me sitting beside a pool in Las Vegas feeling alternately thrilled to have the opportunity to read all of the pent-up novels and memoirs that are waiting less and less patiently on my Kindle… and longing to be home where my heart is. It’s the modern mama’s burden, yes? To never vacation without feeling conflicted.

Of course, when a mama of five (or a mama of any) gets to break out of her sippy cup and ramen noodle routine, there’s some serious preparation required. Oh sure, I mean scheduling 101 people to fill in on the carpools and after-school activities. (I should probably get right on that.) But I also mean important things, like do you think this pink is too juvenile?

Tell me the truth (if the truth is “No, no, Beth! I love it!”) — does it just scream “Dollar Store polish?” ‘Cause it cost me exactly a buck, and I kind of think it’s fabulous but now I have a little bit of nail polish insecurity as though it and my $6 blue leather consignment store bag

are going to give me away. (Psst… I find that “leather” is sometimes misspelled “100% PVC.” Which is weird.)

It’s really very silly and superficial of me to care. I know that’s true even as I wax the fine hairs on my arms and paint myself with light coats of tanning mist. I can’t help but feel a bit like I’ve stumbled back in time, and I’m sitting on the blacktop of my elementary school playground in my brand new purple and white striped K-Mart miniskirt and probing the mysterious social barrier of the other girls’ Jordache jeans and Members Only jackets.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever feel like I’ve arrived as a woman. If I’ll ever feel completely confident. If I’ll ever be bigger than the little girl playing dress-up in her mama’s closet.

I sometimes suspect that I won’t. That I’ll always be that little girl. And… shhhhh!… don’t tell… I’m kind of relieved at the prospect. Because the older I get, the more glad I am to have her. The more I appreciate her insistent joy. And the more thrilled I am to wear her pretty pink polish and carry her blue plastic handbag all over the playground.

Birthday trip 2012? Here I come! I’m all dressed up and ready to play.