A dear friend I haven't seen for a very long time sent me an email recently. In it, he wrote that in his mind's eye, I would always be 22. Sounds about right to me, although, as I told him, my crow's feet tell a different story. I'm actually 36 but I certainly don't feel 36, whatever 36 is supposed to feel like. I assume it's the same for all of us, no age is really what we imagined it would be when we were 15 years younger.
Life in France is helping me keep up the illusion of my eternal youth, or at least certain things I associate with (relative) youth. When I left the States 9 years ago, there were very few stylish moms around. (Lorraine, you have been, pre, during, and post the Child, an admirable exception to this rule. Thank you, though, for giving the Mennonite housewife clothes the bag.) The majority of them looked like REI moms. Fanny packs and comfortable multi-sport shoes and form-eliminating tops and bottoms. Yuck. Maybe it's because I was living in Seattle, REI-land. Anyway, it seemed like that when you became a mother you ceased to be sexy. I suppose that current telelvision programming and whatever else has changed some of that, but when I left there were almost no hot mamas.
But in France, there are hot mamas all over the place. And they're not even all botoxed and boob-jobbed out, there just naturally hot. Pushing babies in strollers and looking stylish - not fashion vicitmish - and hot. I love that. There's no line here, no age where you have to give it up because it isn't appropriate anymore. When I talk to French women about this they look at me like I'm crazy. Why on earth should becoming a mother change who you are as a woman except to add a certain je ne sais quoi you didn't have before, they ask me. Right on.