Well, it only took two days after I wrote about my mother’s vanity (Not Quite Fourteen) to find out I was wrong. I don’t need a full retraction, but a slight modification is certainly in order.
Last night I discovered that there may actually be an expiration date on Vanity.
It just might be that Vanity has a shelf life of eighty-eight years.
My mother got her driver’s license renewed yesterday, just in time for her 88th birthday.
In Connecticut, a driver’s license usually renews for six years. But after a certain age, you can renew for shorter period if you wish. It costs a little less. Mom decided to go for the two-year renewal. “I’ll decide again when I’m ninety if I still want to drive,” she said…which is a bit disconcerting.
Mom only drives now to the supermarket, the hairdresser, and the senior center. But those destinations are extremely important, so she needed that license. (Two years ago she helped my father renew his license, even though he couldn’t drive anymore. She wanted him to have it in his wallet. For his own self-esteem. You can see why I adore her.) So my brother-in-law drove her to the DMV. She didn’t see any irony in needing a ride to get her driver’s license.
She still has enough pride to make sure her makeup was perfect. Especially her eyebrows. In these later years, her eyebrows have all but disappeared. This troubles her, and so if nothing else, she’s always careful to add some eyebrows. She still has a pretty steady hand.
And although she intended to get her hair done, she’s got a bit of a cold, and just wasn’t up to a trip to the beauty parlor. But she took out her curling iron, and made sure the front of her hair looked ‘done’. She has a difficult time reaching around in the back, but she knew it wasn’t going to be a panoramic shot.
I brought her a pizza last night, and while we were munching away, I asked her how the big photo shoot went. And she laughed. She took out her new driver’s license to show me.
Evidently, the lady who took her picture felt so bad about my mother’s photograph that she apologized. This doesn’t sound like the DMV, but my mother assured me it was true.
“It doesn’t look very good,” the lady said. “Let me take it again.”
And I guess Vanity has an expiration date.
Because my mother answered her,
“You can take it again if you want,” she said. “BUT HOW AM I GOING TO CHANGE?”