BEAUTY BUZZ & BLOG BIZ | BOOK PREVIEW
Award-winning author of “The Bright Side of Darkness” and groovy mom, J. E. Pinto aka Jo Elizabeth, has written another book. Previously featured here as a Woman On The Move, today J.E. shares a “middle-aged moms are still hip” vignette from her latest book: “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.” The following exchange between J.E. and her daughter is simply delightful. Enjoy!
by Jo Elizabeth Pinto
I got a late start as a mom. My little girl was born when I was in my mid-thirties. When I show up at her school for classroom parties and field day events, some of her friends think I’m her grandma. The fact that many of their mothers are almost young enough to be my daughter creates an interesting time warp for me.
The time warp is amplified by the fact that, as any mom will tell you, kids are living self-esteem busters. Especially little girls. They’re quick to let you know about your new gray hairs or any blemishes that appear on your face, the coffee you drip on your shirt, the dress that starts to fit you a bit too tightly. If they see a lady on a TV commercial whose smile has gotten three shades brighter because she just tried a new teeth-whitening product, they’ll recommend the product to you the first chance they get. My sweet angel, Sarah, is no exception. She means no harm by it; she comes by her blunt remarks as honestly as any other kid born without filters.
So while the truth of my advancing age is no surprise to me, it hit home for me in a new way the other night. My daughter got right in my face with reality–literally.
At bedtime, she read aloud to me from one of her “Scholastic News” handouts. They’re miniature newspapers passed out periodically in classrooms around the country, and the one she chose this time featured ways wild animals beat the summer heat. We read about hippos in Africa whose bodies make their own sticky sunscreen, kit foxes in Arizona whose furry paws enable them to run across the scorching sand, and silver ants in the Sahara Desert whose shiny backs reflect the heat of the midday sun.
The strangest animal we encountered was the thorny devil, a spiny lizard from the deserts of central Australia. Because it lives in such an arid environment, the thorny devil collects water by letting scarce rainfall and nighttime dew pool up in the grooves between its spines. Then the precious water trickles along the grooves on the lizard’s body, eventually ending up in its open mouth.
As Sarah read, she reached out and stroked my forehead and cheek. I sighed, enjoying the unexpected caress. For a moment, I was lulled into a false sense of contentment.
Then Sarah traced the lines on my forehead and around my eyes with the tip of her index finger. “Mom, you don’t have spines, but you have grooves.”
“Grooves?” I frowned. “I have grooves?”
Sarah’s index finger moved down to my cheek and began tracing around the curve of my nose toward the place where my lips parted. “If you sit outside when it rains, does the water collect in these grooves and trickle into your mouth?”
So much for any last hope I might have had of being a reasonably attractive woman of middle age. “What in the world are you talking about?”
“The lines on your forehead and around your eyes and lips.”
After I finished tucking Sarah into bed, I asked her dad about the state of my complexion, since as a blind person, the thought of wrinkles had never really crossed my mind. I knew elderly people got wrinkles, but my face still felt as smooth under my fingertips as it ever had, and I’d never really given the idea of lines around my eyes and mouth a passing thought.
“You look fine. Not young, not old,” he said in a maddeningly offhand way, hardly glancing up from his hockey game. “Nobody would believe you if you said you were thirty; nobody would believe you if you said you were fifty. Don’t worry about it.”
“Don’t worry about it? Really?” I muttered as I walked away. “Easy for you to say! You can see yourself in the mirror!”
And there I have it. My daughter tells me I look like a thorny devil, and her dad says not to worry about it. I think I’ll sit out on my front porch tomorrow. There’s rain in the forecast.
This piece appears in the parenting memoir I published last summer, called “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark.” The book, made up of short, mostly lighthearted vignettes about my adventures as the blind mom of a sighted daughter, shows that the dents and delights of parenthood are universal, with or without a disability. It’s designed to be an easy read for parents, teachers, social workers, medical professionals, legislators, and others who enjoy kids or interact with diverse family populations.
For more information about both my award-winning novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness,” and “Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark,” please visit my author Website at www.brightsideauthor.com.
About The Author:
J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.
Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audiobooks. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.
The Bright Side of Darkness won a first-place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.”
- Header – Jo Elizabeth with her yellow Labrador guide dog Anlyn walking on a leaf-strewn tree-lined sidewalk with gold, red, and orange autumn trees.
- Daisy Tee – Photo of Jo Elizabeth wearing a huge smile and sunny yellow tee-shirt covered in daisies.
- Hippos & Foxes & Ants, Oh My! Close up images of hippos in the water, an adorable fox, and a singular ant in a gallery.
- Thorny Devil – Close up of the reptile that looks like a lizard with thorns.
- J. E. Pinto at Author Reading – In this photo, Jo Elizabeth is sitting in a chair holding up her book “The Bright Side of Darkness.”