Growing Pains

Thumbnail: Dry bacon

I caught my father after a show­er. How for­mal the word, father. Like address­ing a char­ac­ter in some Elizabethan play. His hair was mussed, wild, even thin­ner than before. He’s been going gray since he was 15, and every cou­ple of months he colours it black again. It works for him, tak­ing at least ten years off his age. People don’t real­ly know how old he is until he tells them that I’m in my twen­ties.

How scary it was to see him like this, like some crazy old fool with all his hair point­ing out­ward and uncom­posed, but still know­ing that he was still my sta­ble, strong, cold father. The thought that he may one day go senile, lose the viril­i­ty that he seems so des­per­ate to cling to, filled me with pity.

The bacon they serve me for break­fast is dry, dull, devoid of soft fat, or grease that pools in the waves of each strip. A result of his heart con­di­tion. No more cheese, red meat only once a week.

Thumbnail: Wrinkled hand

Even my moth­ers’ del­i­cate hands have deeply with­ered, though they remain soft from her atten­tive care, which include vary­ing sorts of design­er hand creams and spe­cial­ized lotions that fol­low her every­where. My par­ents have long stopped wear­ing their wed­dings bands, but she wears one of my grand­moth­ers rings, a beau­ti­ful old-fash­ioned cut on a clamp mount, left to her in the will. I remem­ber my grand­moth­er pinch­ing my cheeks, hold­ing my hand, her skin loose but, like mom, sup­ple as a soft­ened chamois.

I see this ring on my moth­er, and real­ize that she’s get­ting old­er too.


  1. oh god that’s sad.. i try to block all that kind of stuff out cos it gets me down. this is exact­ly why i dont want to age.. because i know my mum will age with me.

  2. I remem­ber feel­ing so ter­ri­bly sad the day I looked down at my own hands and saw my moth­er’s. Time does­n’t wait, ever.

    Jeff, as always, you impressed me with your elo­quent writ­ing.

  3. time must go by. peo­ple get old­er. theres isnt any­thing we can do about it, even if it hurts so bad your heart feels like its about to explode.

  4. We don’t remem­ber time we remem­ber moments. You have here cap­tured a moment in the same way a pho­to­graph does, with as much clar­i­ty and detail. It is what it is. My hands are get­ting old­er. I see my moth­er’s hands when I look at them. I do not feel sad, I feel like a pair of old shoes that just now feels soft and pli­able with time.

    What you have writ­ten is beau­ti­ful. Your voice car­ries your thoughts and feel­ings with human­i­ty.

  5. we all hope that when our par­ents are get­ting old, they will retain their men­tal clar­i­ty. when they are near­ing death, that they will go qui­et­ly in their sleep, with no pain.

    we hope.

    btw i agree, this entry was writ­ten so well. keep it up jeff.

  6. Thank you all for your insights and kind com­ments.

    I’ve real­ized that I have yet to look at my own hands and see my fathers. My par­ents were in their late twen­ties when I was born, so even if I had per­fect mem­o­ry as a child, I still would­n’t know the first glimpse of what their hands looked like for a few years.

    Now I won­der if the real­iza­tion will come sud­den­ly, or grad­u­al­ly.

  7. A few years ago in a fam­i­ly vaca­tion to Greece I caught my moth­er off guard, through the entire trip she was cheer­ful, smil­ing and try­ing to look as if we are all hav­ing the time of our lives, which was­n’t true at all, my sis­ter was doing her Anorexia rou­tine while my mom had pret­ty severe shoul­ders prob­lems, we were all annoyed and upset over each oth­er and pret­ty reluc­tant to except change in the fam­i­ly sit­u­a­tion.

    At one morn­ing, as every morn­ing in that trip, I went to meet my fam­i­ly near the hotel’s arrestant, and I saw my mom read­ing a book on the bal­cony, she was­n’t smil­ing or look­ing man­ic and hap­py, my first thought was “she is so old” then I had one of those rare moments of dis­touch­ment, of see­ing things for what they are and I saw a scared, frag­ile and dis­con­tent per­son who lives his entire life in fear.

    I was hop­ing that this trip would allow me to con­nect to my par­ents as an adult, to find some new base to form a grown up rela­tion­ship on and allow me to get over a lot of my teen anger and so on, in fact, it proved to me that what­ev­er issues I have, I need to solve them on my own since they can’t real­ly give me any answers, I real­ize I was more aware and mature then they ever had been and that I’m pret­ty alone in the world.

    In a way it served it’s pur­pose, cause since then I was less obsessed about pleas­ing them.

  8. I real­ly like your site. I’m just explor­ing the blog­world and yours is very calm­ing. Great clean lay­out, nice pho­to too.

Leave a Reply