I saw her in the mirror again.
The woman who looks like my mother. With her wrinkles and her thick thighs and her poochy belly.
I’m still surprised sometimes when I see her. But she always seems to recognize me.
When she smiles, I see deep lines on her face. The trails left by countless laughs and smiles. She has had a joyful life, and those are the reminders. Some days I detest the lines, but she reminds me how they got there, and encourages me to make them even deeper. She tells me to have pity on women my age who don’t have them, for they are precious.
The lines around her eyes remind me of the wonders she has seen, and her sun-scarred neck and shoulders bear witness to the majestic places she has been. They defy the current standards of beauty, but she doesn’t seem to mind.
When she stands tall, I see curvy lines where a thin, straight body once stood. Sometimes I get upset with her because she has allowed that to happen, but she reminds me of the wonderful things that body has done. Her belly and breasts bear the marks of bearing and feeding three children. (And those wide hips came in handy when she carried two of them around at one time.)
The legs with broken veins have climbed mountains, and the arms with saggy skin have paddled in oceans. Every part of her has served her well. Her journey could not have happened without them.
The silky blonde hair has turned a lovely shade of silvery-white. It is the one thing about her that I truly like.
I feel very self-conscious around her, because in my mind I am a previous version of her. The one with the smooth skin and flat belly. The one my husband fell in love with long ago. And I wonder if he feels the same way about my body that she does.
She reminds me that our journey together is not over, and that there will be more lines and more scars. More testimony to a life well-lived.
She encourages me to embrace them as they come, and always let them be a reminder of our glorious journey.
I decide to accept her wisdom, and to heed her pleadings. I offer myself grace.
I’m sure there will be another day when we meet in the mirror and I feel the old pangs. But I will try to remember her advice – the very advice her own mother once gave. To celebrate this season of life and all that comes with it.