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  • I hate the way my face looks when I speak. I don't like the lines and expressions that reveal me to the listener. I need to talk a lot at work, I need to answer countless questions from my grandsons, and I need to talk with my writing partner for hours at a time. I know they are looking at me, but do they see me or just the old, hair-sprouting Sicilian-Polish-likely-Jew who brushes and flosses twice a day and dyes her hair? Are they judging me for who they think I should be or what they think I should really be doing with what is left of this life?

    We all wear a mask. A cliche maybe, but we do. We don't believe anyone could accept all the foibles and emotional wrinkles and crevices that make us who we are. But knowing that we are the sum total of all our experiences makes it okay to be who we are, where we are at any point in our life, and where we are headed. no one gets it right first time around. I figure I'm on the third go-around at sixty. This weekend, my grandsons will be here, having a sleep-over at Nonna's as they like to call it. I'll wake up stiff and sore from having shared a bed with both of them (5 and 3 years old). We will be curled up reading and telling stories, singing songs (Rainbow Connection and Sentimental Journey and Somewhere Over the Rainbow) until they fall asleep half on me and each other. I will not sleep well, for sure. The face I will wash tomorrow morning will be further wrinkled and sagging, but tired-looking that comes from sharing my space with two human beings who love me unconditionally. That face watching itself wash and prepare for the day will be wearing a genuine, tired smile, but a big smile nonetheless.
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