The Face in the Mirror

When you’re 16 or 24 and you gaze at your reflection, you used to wrinkle your nose up thinking you don’t like your hair (it’s not thick or long enough or not the color you’d like it to be). You may be critical of your nose or the shape of your eyes or lips. The point is, when we’re young we always found something about our reflection that we would like to change. I’ve never met a woman who’s ever been 100% satisfied with her looks. We all have our secret insecurities.

Now that I’ve added a couple of decades to that 24-year-old reflection, I look at myself and wonder what she was complaining about? Her skin was toned and firm, she had cute little freckles across her nose and cheeks (that I once truly hated), she had beautiful dark brown eyes, and a perfect smile. Personally, it was always my hair that I hated about my looks. I had always hated the strong red tint and use to color it blonde to hide it. As I got older, I colored it brown, but within weeks the reddish color was back and there was not much I could do about it. I’ve since given up the battle and instead, get irritated by the cluster of greys that appeared just above my right temple about five years ago.

That and the ever present dark circles under my eyes. There are days I look so exhausted that it appears someone has struck me in the face, blackening both eyes. With the proper amount of sleep, they do dissipate. But seriously, who has the time to get a full 8-9 hours of sleep a night? Not me! There are simply not enough hours in the day for all I must do.

Now don’t give me the time management speech. I work almost 10 hours a day at a job that I love! Then I come home and dive straight into my school work, while also still fending calls and little things from the office (doctors can be very demanding!!). My Grad school work is everything to me and I’m holding a 4.0. It is extremely important to me to graduate with honors and know that I did it on my own!!

Once my studying is done and homework completed, I focus on writing, research, and republishing my books. I usually fall asleep with a book in my hand or over my laptop with the lights still on around midnight or so and then get back up at 4:00 AM to do it all over again. I’m not making excuses, or asking for sympathy, because I happen to love my life and I fought hard to get here.

But this morning as I was doing my makeup, I realized I have small lines on my face, my freckles have faded, and that 24-year-old girl has matured into a 44-year-old lady. I have been so busy raising my children, going to school, building my career, and living through life’s up and downs, I hadn’t fully noticed the reflection looking back at me was that of my mother.

I admit, it made me smile. Throughout my life, people have always complimented my mother on her youthful good looks. She’d politely smile and say thank you, dismissing it. She is now in her late sixties and no one guesses her age. As I studied the reflection staring back at me, I silently thanked my mom for passing on her genes, but it also gave me a warm sense that regardless of the miles between us, she is still with me every day in my smile. And despite the faded freckles, the patch of persistent greys, and the little fine lines that define the lady I’ve become, I wouldn’t turn the clock back if I could to be that 24-year-old girl again! It was extremely difficult the first time around and I know I wouldn’t have the strength to relive those years all over again! And I couldn’t be happier with where I am today – dark circles and all! Life is good!!

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