Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wrinkles - A road map of my life

I forgot to set my daughter’s alarm clock for the school day, so I had to wake her up. I sat down on the edge of her bed and looked down at her sweet, unlined face. I whispered, “Good morning,” and within a few moments, she awakened and looked deeply into my eyes.

I patiently waited for her sweet morning greeting. Instead she studied my face closely, frowned, and then said, “Mommy, your eyes look old this morning. Underneath your eyes, it looks puffy and wrinkled. You look about, hmmm, 49 years old.” (Children are full of truth serum, at this age.)

Uh hem. I recently turned 42 years old. Ouch! What a rough way to start a day. I went into internal and external justification mode. “I’m tired. I didn’t sleep well. I haven’t put on make-up.”

Later, after she’d gone to school, I studied those facial lines (I refuse to call them “wrinkles) in the bathroom mirror. I decided that I am comfortable with the aging process, and I don’t feel that I’ll be tempted to go under the plastic surgery scalpel anytime soon.

I wanted my daughter to know that I am comfortable in my skin, in the hopes that she will grow up being comfortable in hers. I jotted down these thoughts to share with her.

Dear Darling Daughter of mine:

You commented recently that I have lots of wrinkles on my face and that they make me look older than my actual age. At first, I was saddened by your observation, but after thinking about it, I have found peace and acceptance, and perhaps a bit of pride in the lines that show on my face. The pride part has a little bit to do with you.

I decided that I have earned each and every one of these age lines, and I am not going to make any excuses or apologies for them. You are responsible for several of them. Some of these wrinkles are reflections of the life that I have lived with you.

Sometimes, my eyes are puffy with dark circles because I haven’t slept well. As your Mommy, at times I worry, and that causes me to lose sleep. When you become a Mom, you will find out that as a parent, you worry about your child all of the time. You stay awake at night pondering crime, global warming, swine flu, and billions of other crazy notions. Actually, I don’t think I have had a truly carefree night of sleep since May 21, 1999.

Did you notice those crow’s feet around my eyes? A great many of those lines were obtained from watching your sporting events held in the blinding sun, or playing with you in the backyard. Any time that I can spend with you, I will always choose a little sun-damage over missing out on an experience.

Yes, I have lines around the corners of my mouth, too. I’ve noticed that they become more pronounced every time you make me smile or laugh. I’m happily keeping them.

Those deep furrows between my eyebrows, show all of the worries that I have had for, and about you, throughout the past ten years of your life. As you grow older, and the challenges grow tougher, the lines have progressively deepened. Those particular wrinkles began when you were in the womb and I cried because you might have been born with a birth defect. They deepened during those 2nd grade days when you came home from school, and said that you didn’t have any friends to play with. And today? I have devoted today to worrying about your entry into puberty, and all of the “stuff” that comes along with it.

So, my daughter, I won’t be seeing a plastic surgeon for a face lift or an eye lift. Each of those lines is a roadmap of what makes me - ME. And, if I removed some of my wrinkles, I would be erasing a part of the life that I have already lived…with you.

Your loving, pruney Mother.

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