Most mornings, I look in the mirror and don’t know who it is staring back at me. The bags under my eyes are dark and unforgiving, and the hair that was once nicely colored and layered is now growing out at weird angles and lengths. And the color? I think I see some gray peeking through.
My once put-together outfits that consisted of actual pants with buttons now look like I am going to the gym, or always prepared for a quick nap. Side note: there is no napping and definitely no gym! And all my once-favorite things to do, like leisurely shopping, writing novels, and cooking home-cooked, well-balanced meals, are becoming less and less frequent.
I’m not sure who I am most days, and I find myself staring at this stranger, wondering what happened to that once carefree and youthful person. Now, much of myself goes to raising my children, comfort replacing style and quick, easy meals taking over my once-adventurous palate.
It can be hard to exchange who we once were for memories and pictures that flood our timelines and fill our scrapbooks. But sometimes, there can be beauty in the change and the journey toward figuring out who we are.
When I look in the mirror, the laugh lines make me smile, remembering watching my child do something silly. My hair that is crazy and unbalanced on top of my head reminds me that I spent time with my daughter and went on a much-needed bike ride. And my outfit–it allows me to get on the floor and play with my son whenever I want.
The quick meals give me time to spend with my family, and shopping still happens, it just looks different, as my son waves and says “Hi” to everyone that passes by, and my teenager takes forever to pick out the perfect shirt.
I realize each day that who I am will change many times throughout my life. As I grow, my children, my marriage, who I am will adapt and overcome each obstacle and challenge to make sure I am the best version of myself for each season. That’s the beauty of it–we adapt. We bend and flex to become the version of ourselves needed for that time.
It can be hard to see the changes, both mentally and physically, and it is natural to mourn who we once were, but there is beauty in change. And as parents, we give so much of ourselves. In the moment, when we pass over those stiletto heels for sneakers, it can seem like such a loss, but in a flash, those children that need us so much now will someday be independent and grown.
Those stretching pants will once again be replaced with pants with buttons, and sneakers will become something more stylish, and those shopping trips will allow you to take your time and browse. And again, we may find ourselves questioning who we are, as once again the season changes.
So, for now, when I look in the mirror, I will embrace who I see looking back at me. Appreciate the changes and see the absolute good in each wrinkle, each piece of unruly hair, because it means I’m living, and there’s nothing better than that.