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|Time Traveler - Page 2|
With this new sense of buoyancy came another, even more pleasurable, bodily shift. I began to feel sexy again. In the months following Darrah's birth, I'd begun wearing a bleak assortment of baggy T-shirts and sweatpants, convinced that my life as an attractive, sensual woman was over. I was Mother, and a squishy-bodied, exhausted one at that. I got my hair permed that first year in a desperate attempt to reclaim some shred of allure. It was transformative indeed. Now I looked like a frump who'd been struck by lightning.
As Darrah bloomed into childhood, I discovered jazz dance, and the intimations of matronliness began to recede. But by the time she hit high school, they returned in force. In the presence of my daughter and her friends, dressed in their micro-tees and lit up with the incandescent energy of adolescence, I felt older and more faded than ever. The sense of "good-bye to all that" was attended by a kind of shrouded grief. I spoke with no one about it, because against all common sense, I couldn't imagine that any other midlife mom felt as I did. Instead, I tried to beat back my shame with stiff-upper-lip lectures. "You're middle aged!" I'd rail inwardly. "Get over it!"
Then, at some point during Darrah's freshman year in college, I looked in the mirror and began to see the outlines of the woman who was actually reflected there. Okay, she was no longer young, but she was still quite slim—maybe even shapely. One evening, at a younger friend's persistent urging, I borrowed her slinky black skirt, topped it with a clingy tank, and walked into a party full of old friends. Heads turned. I heard a couple of whistles. I was amazed, then extremely happy.