Please don’t take away my girl card

I have never been a girly girl, as much as my mother tried.

And tried, and tried.

I can dress up like the rest of them, with my makeup and high heels, when the occasion calls for it. I can sit still long enough to get my nails done, mainly because of that amazing massage chair that the salons offer and a Starbucks coffee nearby. And I do like to be pampered once in awhile, with a full body massage or an acupuncture treatment to calm my body and mind.

But that’s about where it ends.

I am more comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, with sneakers, or my most favorite Birkenstock sandals that I’ve owned for over 15 years. I put on makeup each day before I leave the house now, but that only began during my divorce. I suddenly realized that I could run into people who may know both of us, or even his new arm candy of a wife, in the grocery store or around town and the report back would be that I looked like an old, haggard troll doll on a bad day.

Not happening.

I am a boy mom, not a girl mom. So the pressure is off to be the girly girl. If anything I learned to embrace the boy culture almost too easily. It spoke to me. It was hard wired inside of me since the second grade when I realized that dresses were nice, but a lot of work around boys with curious eyes. Plus, they were cold to wear in the winter!

You have to suffer to be beautiful, I get it, but cold? No thanks.

Now in my later years, my midlife years, I have realized that there is yet another girly DNA segment that I am missing. The gardening gene. Most women my age love to garden. They love plants, how to tend to them and how to talk to them. They love it so much that they make entire groups out of the idea, meeting up to talk gardening or sell gardening items and plants to raise funds for charity, which is admirable.

I have even been invited to join a garden club once or twice along the way. I’ve also been encouraged to take cuttings from someone’s home to nurture into a plant for my own yard or home. My own mother is a green thumb type and has tried (once again, really tried) to entice me to show an interest in what types of plants are in my own backyard, and in her backyard. Maybe swapping cuttings or talking about fertilizer over coffee.

I can’t tell you the names of half of the plants that are currently growing in my yard.

I can tell you what colors I have, and which ones I adore most for their colors and shapes. I love lilac bushes, rose of sharon bushes and hydrangeas in blue and purple, but please don’t ask me to make a seasonal ornamental planter for my front porch. Or to plant annuals to add color to my front window.

You mean I’d have to do that every year??

It’s not from lack of effort, I have tried to embrace the idea of caring for a yard full of green life now that I own my own home. I have weeded and cleared areas, cut the grass and used the weed wacker. I actually enjoy cutting the grass, believe it or not. I attribute that to using a large machine to do the job and the look of the lines across the lawn when it’s complete. It’s beautiful and symmetrical.

But somewhere along the way, after a day of full on energy diving in for four or more hours, I lose interest. For weeks.

It’s worse than cleaning a house that you know is just going to get dirty again. The weeds grow back, sometimes faster than they grew to get there in the first place. What the hell?!

When we had moved into our first home together over twenty years ago, I made the most foolish mistake of agreed upon labor division I can now imagine. Knowing that landscaping and gardening were really not my thing, I agreed to take care of the inside of the house if my soon to be husband would take care of the outside. I would clean, do the laundry, do the grocery shopping, cook and tend to any other homeowner type of care within my abilities. I didn’t want any responsibility for decision making or care for the outside – because it wasn’t my thing. And he had worked with landscaping during college summers, so he was basically a pro compared to me.

The reason it was foolish? Lawn care has a season, or two if it’s a warm fall. Inside home care is all year round.

Just because it snowed didn’t mean that we didn’t need laundry done, or that the house didn’t need to be cleaned. There is no “season” for housekeeping. Adding to that, I usually ended up shoveling the driveway, during the worst months in our midwest winters, because that was “busy season” for his line of work. My career was year round busy, for theĀ  most part, with crazy hours sometimes but I made the deal didn’t I?

Women’s work is never done. Preach it, sister!

So is it any wonder why I have no real desire or zest for yard work and gardening now? I am full on with the housekeeping care, keeping kids and pets alive, why did I think I would suddenly embrace this female link for gardening now?

Maybe because I am now over 50. Isn’t that what women my age are supposed to do?

Just add it to the growing list of how I don’t fit into this girl club, never really have and most likely never really will. But that’s okay. I still love a good project, like cleaning out the garage, and getting dirty. I still enjoy the reward of a well organized basement or spare room, and the multiple garbage bags dragged to the curb or dropped off and donated.

I still get dressed up with makeup and perfume when the occasion calls for it, I love to cook and bake, and I can sew a patch onto a scout uniform – with my sewing machine (finally) – without too much of a challenge. I love long baths, red wine and outdoor concerts on the lawn. I can make a mean cheese and sausage platter, too.

Hopefully that’s enough to let me keep my girl card.

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