Some folks would have you believe that they never change. They don’t age. They will do everything they can to stop the ravages of time.
I’m not one of them.
The truth is that everyone is changing. Everyone. Some say they’re the same, but that’s not completely true. We’re all aging. We’re all learning new things, every day.
I’m turning 40 in two weeks from today. I’ve had a lot of people tease me and say I’m only turning 25 or I’m “39 and holding”. Or ask if I’m doing ok with the fact that I’m going to be 40. And honestly, my answer is that it’s a lot better than NOT turning 40. I have earned it! I have earned every wrinkle, the crows feet, laugh and frown line, and gray hair. I’ve earned every ache and pain.
My wrinkled brow is from worrying over a potential diagnosis for our son. When we didn’t know if he would live or die. We weren’t certain of his future and I stressed and wrinkled my brow almost constantly.
My frown lines are from the saddest days of my life; watching my mother die from breast cancer. For the last two years of her life, she fought it valiantly, only to finally succumb to the awfulness that is cancer. She swelled with steroids and then seemed to wither right before our eyes.
My crows feet are from squinting during all of the sunny baseball games where we watched our son and his friends with special needs playing Miracle League baseball (if you haven’t looked into it, you definitely should! It’s so much fun!). Squinting with laughter. Squinching my face up to make my kids laugh. And squinting to read now that I’m a bit older.
The gray hairs are from Riley forgetting to turn off the lights, and leaving messy rooms, and worrying over her when she has the tummy bug, if her homework is done on time, watching her ride her bike down the street without me, and seeing how she’s growing and becoming so independent. And the arguing we do over her sassiness. She definitely gets that from me.
The laugh lines are from Joel, Riley, and Jamie being their silly selves. Showing me that it’s okay to laugh at myself. I don’t have to be perfect because I’m perfect to them. Laughing at the pure joy they all have. And knowing that I’m part of that. We have a very fun life for all of its stress. I’m so grateful for them and their laughter.
The aches and pains are from the nights I spent on my knees beside Jamie’s bed, praying for him. Giving him to God. And from running up and down the stairs when Riley calls my name in the middle of the night. And from stooping down to pick up their toys and clothes. From carrying laundry baskets. From riding bikes with them, taking walks with them, and wrestling on the living room floor. From “zooming” all of Jamie’s 115 pounds. From running for my mom-time. And standing up for hours baking their favorite lasagna. Being silly with Riley and helping her learn to leap for dance. From helping Jamie learn to walk and catching him when he falters still even though he’s taller than I. From carrying Riley around while holding Jamie’s hand so many years ago. My back aches some nights. My feet hurt. My knees hurt from running. I’ve burned my hands cooking.
And yet, I have earned each one of these things that some women abhor.
I wear them proudly as my badges of honor.
I am their mom, his wife, and His daughter.
And my heart is full.