mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Reflect. — The Life Cycle of Our Mirrors

She looked at me with tired eyes and said, 

“Sometimes I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize the face looking back.”

I’ve had my own similar encounters with the looking glass over the years.

And here, on the eve of my 41st birthday, I am becoming more and more aware of how I view my own reflection.

How I have seen my reflection.

How I will see it in the years ahead.

And how this has changed over the years.

Our mirrors have their own life cycles.

When we are very young, we don’t have time to pause in front of mirrors. We are far too busy and focused on more important things. Like playing and being with our friends.

So, our Mommas remind us to comb our hair and check our outfits, because we have not bothered to take a look at our bed heads or mismatched, untucked ensemble.

A few years go by and we begin to discover that we care about how we look.

We stand in front of our mirrors and admire our new hairstyle. We turn and spin and look over our shoulder, on the left, on the right to see our new outfit and whether it looks best with flats or boots.

And then we are overwhelmed with the knowledge that we suddenly care about how others think we look.

And our mirrors now become more than a reflection, our mirrors turn into comparisons. Our mirrors create opportunities for us to criticize.

And then it changes. Or how we look at it … changes.

And it no longer shows us what we are.

Instead, we can only see everything that we are not. And surely someone else is.

The color of our hair. The shape of our eyes. The size of our nose. Our complexion. Our height. Our weight.

We give these mirrors so much power during these years.

Power to push us forward and power to hold us back.

But if we are lucky, eventually, we find a way out of its grasp, we take back the power and we move on.

And then, if we become a Tired Working Momma, the mirror becomes irrelevant for a few many years.

The mirror disappears again for a time.

Because we don’t have time to stop and look in a mirror. We are far too busy and focused on the important things … again.

We are busy looking into the eyes of our babies and on the piles of laundry.

We are busy looking after toddlers and checking over homework.

We are busy going to games and running schedules.

And for years, this goes on.

Life.

Life goes on.

Until it settles down, every now and then,…  or 50 years later.

And we stop and really look in the mirror again.

Which is why we are surprised sometimes by what we see.

And we think we miss what was once there. The reflection that we saw before.

Before years. Before years of life.

Before kids. Before kids full of life.

That image in the mirror that we come to notice, an image that may have more wrinkles. More gray hairs. More pounds.

But what it doesn’t show, is really us.  As we still see ourselves.

So if we look closely, there is a more accurate reflection all around us.

For me, I see myself better in Y.

In her profile. In her smile. In her words. In her attitudes. In her personality. In her style. In her flair.

She is my mirror.

A mirror I can trust.

And for the record, …

A mirror that comes full circle.

She was beautiful.

She is beautiful.

We have to look. We have to see. We have to believe.

Yes. You. All of YOU… really are the fairest of them all.

selfie

Thanks for coming with me on this 41 day journey.

It’s been magic.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful — Mirror.

Sometimes, I am a little … startled at just how much my daughter, Y, is like me.  The similarities are both amazing and a little frightening.

First off, everyone says we look so much alike. Our hair is similar in color, although hers is just a tad bit darker than mine was at her age. And I’ve added so many colors to mine lately, including purple, so who would really know for sure.  She has her daddy’s hazel eyes, but her nose and shape of her little round face and her smile, that’s all me.

But that is not what takes me back at times–it is how she just IS. She acts so much like me. I see it. Everyday. Her flair. Her drama. Her sensitive spirit. Her generous heart.

Yesterday morning, Thanksgiving Day, Y did that thing she does, where she has something all planned out in her head. The ceremony of it all. She needed us all to come to the couch and be presented with the Thanksgiving Day gifts she had made for us the day before. I totally get this feeling.

That’s all me.

I used to spend hours making presents for others. For every holiday. I would use any birthday money that I received in cards from my grandmothers to buy supplies to make little knick knack presents for family and friends.  Some of these little kitschy gifts still sit on my grandmother’s corner shelf. I love that.

Once, I even went as far as to feign a fever and illness in the 4th grade, so that my Mom would have to come and pick me up early from school. Not so I could go home and watch Luke and Laura on General Hospital. No, I wanted to make some signs and gifts for the new minister and his family arriving at our church. Lame, yes, I know. But still something I did and something I wouldn’t put past Y to do someday.

So, dutifully, we all sat on the couch and were handed our handmade gifts one by one. Her little brother, X, received a word puzzle–little words that need to be put in order to give him a message of sisterly love. It was heartwarming, yes; she is desperate to teach him to read, but he is not ready and she is NOT a patient teacher. Her dad was handed a too cute card with a cut out red heart that read, “My heart is holding your love big time. I love you.” Too, too sweet. Might I mention she has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger when it comes to stuff like this.

And then mine.

Well, she handed me a piece of paper, stapled together to create an envelope. It was decorated with little hearts all over it. I was given the, ahem, very explicit directions as to exactly how to open this, and pull out each slip of paper, one by one. She knows how she wants things done. (I like that about her.)

What came next was just about the best moment a Momma can have. One by one, I pulled out a little slip of paper. On each one, was her precious 7 year old handwriting. On each one, she had written a message. On each one, the message was exactly what this Mom needed to hear.

She pays attention, this one. Almost too closely. She hears everything. She notices everything. Not a thing gets past her. Which is why she must feel so obligated to help others at school, whether they want her help, or her advice, or her reminders, or her admonishment… or not.

So….She knows that I’ve been counting down to my 40th birthday. She knows that I keep a journal. She knows that I have started blogging again.

But what she doesn’t get, yet, is that I pay attention, too. I’ve watched her. I’ve watched her start her own journal. I’ve watched her sneak a peek into mine to see what I do and how I set mine up. She has shared her entries and they seem so … familiar. We have had conversations about how she wants to add a “Joke of the Day” page to my blog. I said I would consider it.

Here are the messages that she gave me, one by one,  yesterday, Thanksgiving Day:

You are the best.

I love you a lot.

I love you.

You are the best Mommy.

I like you everyday.

You are nice.

Shine bright.

Happy Thanksgiving.

And…then, the last one I pulled out…my absolute favorite; the one that will truly be my theme for my 40th year; the one that will be my mantra; all from my 7 year old daughter, my mirror:

“You are just right.”

She has it figured out. In her own way. At 7.

Thankful. Is just not a big enough word.

 

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