Little Gray Rainbow

Photo by Kyle Cleveland on Unsplash

I remember getting my ears pierced as a kid, and that was a rite of passage. I had wanted pierced ears probably even as a toddler, but my mom said I had to wait until I turned 8 years old. So I waited and it happened for me in 1980 at the hair salon. I’ll never forget the small, shiny pistol the lady used to shoot those silver “training studs” through my lobes. I clearly remember the burn in each ear.

The Precious Pair has never been as interested in ear piercing as I was. My oldest reluctantly decided to have hers done at age 8, based on my prompting  – at the modern earring mecca of Claire’s. But a year or so later, she heard her babysitter tell a story about her own ear, an earring, and considerable amounts of blood; then it was all over, and that child of mine decided to stop wearing earrings forever. Until she turned 16 and decided she wanted to wear earrings again. Somehow, the holes had not grown shut, so I saved about $40 and another trip to Claire’s, one place no mother wants to end up once your kids pass the age of 10. It’s one of those spots where you spin into an instant state of panic and over-stimulus, much like Five Below and Chuck E. Cheese. Luckily, so far, my youngest has shown zero interest in earrings, even at age 12.

Only a few days ago, I heard about a young woman launching a new Etsy shop with artfully-crafted earrings. As a sucker for pretty and unique handmade jewelry, I couldn’t wait to check it out. I found several styles I wanted to buy and began tossing them in my cart. When I got ready to check out, I had forgotten my password – of course – so I had to go through a 10-minute process of setting up a new one. By the time I made it back to my cart, the little gray rainbows had been nabbed by another eager shopper. I was bummed! Those earrings had spoken to me. While I’m typically drawn to a nice dangle earring, these were studs. Small, solid, gray clay rainbows. If you’re not familiar with my obsession with the color gray, feel free to check that out here.

When it comes to rainbows, they’ve become a meaningful symbol in my life. Someone special refers to me jokingly as a “Skittles Rainbow” because I believe in a serendipitous path, where life generally works out as it should, day-by-day. It’s fair to say I’m an idealist. I tend to think in terms of what can happen versus what will happen. But in middle age, it’s fair and accurate to say that I’m NOT bursting with vivid colors. I’m graying a bit, and not just my hair; not just my home décor; not just my wardrobe…

My Temperament
I am cooling off and calming down and becoming more steady and stable. In the spirit of TMI, I will tell you that I recently weaned myself off of two prescription drugs I had been taking for years for anti-anxiety. Why did I decide to do that? Well, I was bad about taking them consistently in the first place, and I wasn’t convinced they were doing much for me anyway, anymore. I’m certainly not advocating for ditching a good medicine if it serves you well. In my case, I felt the need to cleanse and detox for a while. This doesn’t mean I won’t go back to them. We’re on a break.

My Qualities
“Nice is a not a word I would use to describe you,” The Teen said to me not long ago. I wasn’t sure what to think of that comment, so I asked her what words she would use. She thought for a bit and replied with “fierce, hard-working, determined.”  While that doesn’t reflect a warm and fuzzy golden glow, it does feel a bit steely gray, doesn’t it? I’m happy these words came to her mind, and I would use the same to describe many of my middle-aged friends. I think these are the qualities most of us have learned by now. It’s tough to get through marriage, parenting, and, as in my case, divorce without them.

My Behavior
I love a good rant. And I have “skills” in the areas of griping, complaining, and whining (or should I say “wining”?), as well as anybody else. My daily behavior is not always stellar, and I certainly don’t always give others the benefit of the doubt. I’m impatient and nitpicky and, at times, highly irritated by others whose values and standards do not match my own. Dare I describe my own behavior as “judgmental”? Yes, maybe, sometimes.

Yet beneath these layers of gray, I still believe in everything a traditional Roy G. Biv rainbow represents – hope, joy, faith, renewal, a fresh start, a bright spot, happiness, love. And I am grateful to report that I experience all of these colorful emotions these days! There was a chapter in my adult life when rainbows felt quite elusive, but I can tell you confidently now: they are real. Is there a special symbol that speaks to you?

Here on Saint Patrick’s Day, it feels like a great time to talk about rainbows. After all, we know that’s where The Lucky Leprechaun finds his bigass pot of gold. As bonus timing for this blog, the dear friend I mentioned above has a birthday coming up a week from today. #49. I would say it’s just as significant to turn 49 as it is to turn 50, because it’s the last one we get before we turn 50. I’m hopeful we can take a special trip together in 2022, to celebrate our dual 50th Birthdays in the same year. Maybe even to someplace splendid like Ireland. What a perfect spot that would be to see some stunning gray rainbows.

Wish me 🍀 with that,

BONUS: A Green Cocktail Recipe…”The Lucky Leprechaun”
I made this for some work colleagues during a Zoom Happy Hour the other day. They seemed to like it; hope you do, too!

Your favorite vodka or gin; not flavored
Rum – a clear or golden variety; not flavored
Blue Curacao – you’ll find this near the schnapps; an orange liqueur, unnaturally blue in color, but a crucial ingredient!
Orange or Pineapple Juice or Both – another crucial ingredient!
Something fizzy – Sprite, Ginger Ale, Tonic, Club Soda, or Seltzer (use a diet version for less sweetness)
Crushed Ice
Cocktail Shaker & Spoon
OPTIONAL: Straw, Fun Napkin, Shamrock on a Stick – cocktail flair! Why not?!?

Add crushed ice to your cocktail shaker. Pour in nice splashes of your vodka or gin, rum, and blue curacao. Add a cup of juice and shake. Pour into a tall glass holding more chipped ice, but fill only 2/3 to top. No need to strain. Top it off with your fizzy ingredient, stir, add your flair, and sip your magically green concoction to your heart’s content.

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