My husband, Mike, ran into the bedroom. “What happened? Do I need to kill a spider?”
“NO,” I wailed. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, pinching the skin of my upper arm. “I have chicken skin.” I turned to show him.
“Honey, you’re still as beautiful to me as the day I met you.” He wrapped his arms around me and kissed the top of my head.
My name is Jane. I’m thirty-five years old. How many years can a woman shave off their age, and get away with it. They say sixty is the new forty. If that’s true, then fifty-eight is the new thirty-eight, which means I’m only taking three years off my age. But with my chicken skin discovery, will anyone believe me?
When I was twelve, my best friend’s grandparents came for a visit. Monica and I hung out every day. Her grandma wanted to try Monica’s pogo stick. She attempted to climb up on it, but she needed us to stand on either side of her, holding her up. We each grabbed an arm, then burst into hysterical laughter. Grandma couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t continue holding her up. All we could stutter, was “Chicken skin!”
Grandma couldn’t have been more than sixty-five or so, and she was slightly overweight, but her skin was cool and loose. We couldn’t stomach it.
As I looked in the mirror, I wondered if my grandchildren would either laugh hysterically at my sagging arms, or run in horror from their Mema’s chicken skin.
What is it about drooping arms that’s so alarming? It’s because they aren’t as easily hidden. Thunder thighs can be camouflaged under a flowing skirt, or a pair of slacks. Post-childbirth pooch is disguised by loose tops. Who tucks in their blouse now, anyway?
But arms, not so much. People tend to look at you strangely when you wear long sleeves all summer, especially in one hundred degree heat. Rumors of scars, bruises, or drug-use have been started by well-meaning friends who think it’s odd when you wear a sweater to a pool party. It’s awkward getting the sweater wet.
So I continue to look in the mirror and sigh. Chicken skin, chicken neck, what’s next?
This is just one of the many areas our aging parents face – losing their youthful looks. You can help by saying what my husband said, “Mom, you’re just as beautiful as the day you got married.”