|My birthday pie helpers!|
“That’s nice,” he said, looking up from the presentation he was creating. “You can always get implants.” And yes, he really was talking about my teeth…
“Just thought you should know what you’ve gotten yourself into,” I said plopping on the other end of the sofa. He knows, boy does he know. I think we’d only been dating a few weeks when I sat him down on the couch of my rental and listed all of my faults, outlined all of my flaws, described the mistakes I’ve made, and detailed the specific type of baggage I would be bringing into a relationship if we really, honestly, and truly were going to have a relationship. It just seemed that he should know it all because if he couldn’t handle it or didn’t like what he heard, well, I wanted to know that sooner rather than later.
And here we are five years later. And instead of talking about my son’s health problems or my varicose veins or the part I played in causing my first marriage to fail (because it takes two people), I get to talk about my wonky teeth. The question then becomes, why does it matter? I suppose it’s because we all get a little vulnerable every now and again and a birthday is as good as a reason as any to feel vulnerable about getting older. Will you love me when I’m wrinkled? Will you love me when I’m gray? Will you love me when my teeth fall out and I need implants? It makes me think of that children’s story “The Velveteen Rabbit.” In one scene the horse is talking to the rabbit about love. It says:
“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”
Then again, I suppose you could say that of all days, a birthday is a day to put all of the things we don’t like about ourselves aside. It’s a day of acceptance, a day to just be who we are without explanations or asterisks. It’s another opportunity on the carousel of life to finally accept who we are, flaws and all. Perhaps in a few more turns of the calendar I’ll get to that place. For now, I’m just getting used to saying them out loud. I think it’s a good step. Plus, we all need a little reassurance now and again that we are loved--and will be loved--no matter what.