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The Mustache Years

Last night, I found myself looking at electric razors for Nolan. Sure I’ve looked before, but I’m actually planning to get him one this week. What was once a “someday soon” has become a “I guess that’s now…”


The irony, though? Nolan and I are entering what I like to refer to as The Mustache Years at the same time.


Poor Kirk is surrounded by a hormonal mess these days…While Nolan is well into puberty by this point, my mid-forties are ushering me straight into perimenopause. I keep thinking to myself that this can’t be all that unusual, but it still feels really strange.


And maybe part of that is because most moms my age with teenagers are a little less involved with the care and maintenance of their kids’ bodies. If Nolan were a typical teen, I likely wouldn’t be quite as familiar with just what step of the human development ladder he’s on. Instead, the daily routine likes to remind me that he’s not my chubby toddler in footy pajamas anymore.


I’ve never been an adolescent male before so I can only imagine what he’s going through in that ever-changing body of his. And I may not vividly remember my own puberty (I think we all repress many of those memories), but I do remember how awkward and uncomfortable it could be. Anyone reading this now who knew me then is probably thinking, “Girl, awkward is an understatement. You made Tina Belcher look suave. You could have your own chapter in the Awkward Family Photos books based solely on 1991.” That’s fair.


But it does strike me as kind of funny how much these two life changes overlap, though. Funny “hmmm” yes, but also funny “haha” depending on the day. Or funny “I need to go cry in a corner” sometimes (because hormones). Because seriously, we’re both moody as heck. More so than usual that is. I’m sure we can blame the hormonal turmoil for that (at least if Kirk asks, that’s the story I’m going with).


And clearly we’re both sprouting hair. Though Nolan’s isn’t necessarily confined to his face like mine is. Thank goodness society doesn’t expect men to shave their underarms, though, because I don’t know how on earth I would a) teach Nolan that skill or b) convince him that it’s a good idea.


I would, however, like to ask society to rethink its stance on women’s bodies as they age. That’s a really big ask, I know… But seriously.


When I first started getting randomly “super warm”, it didn’t even occur to me that it would be perimenopause. Of course, the fact that this happened in the middle of a global pandemic had me first asking, “Am I feverish?” Even after ruling out the coronavirus for lack of symptoms, my brain went straight to things like, “Might I have a urinary tract infection? Or even an ear infection?” Nope. I’m just aging, and those are hot flashes.


But we’re so trained that youth equals beauty in women, that we’ve been taught to cover up signs of age. And maybe that’s part of why no one talks about menopause (or its obnoxious younger sister perimenopause). Maybe that’s why it didn’t occur to me that they were hot flashes. I mean, hot flashes are for old ladies, and I’m no old lady. I mean sure, I’m old enough to be a grandma, but… wait—AM I AN OLD LADY? I mean, Jennifer Anniston is older than me, and she’s like 35, right? I’m so confused…


Honestly, though, I’m fairly certain that I’d rather be my age than deal with puberty again, but that’s got very little to do with the hormones involved. The beautiful thing about age is the maturity that comes with it.


During puberty, I didn’t know that what my peers thought of me wasn’t really all that important. It sure felt important, but I didn’t have the maturity to realize that those opinions only mattered if I let them. Now that I no longer put so much weight on how other people perceive me, I feel much lighter and more free.


So maybe I should let my facial hair creep in like I’ve been doing with the gray hairs and fine lines on my face… I’m not sure if there’s a market for it, but I could totally work a bearded lady gig. (I saw The Greatest Showman—I know the bearded lady is the coolest of the bunch…)


Or if not, maybe Nolan and I can fight over the bathroom mirror in the morning while we try to each get a handle on our own facial hair situation…


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