I posted this picture on Facebook and Instagram this weekend. Actually, on Valentine’s Day. I commented on how big my second grader looks, both in general and specifically with her hair pulled back. And then I looked at the picture a bit longer. And I commented: #momwrinkles.

It wasn’t a slight on myself in the least. It was merely an observation…and, yeah, a bit of a loaded one. I have a lot of thoughts about those wrinkles. I have a lot of feelings about this whole getting older thing.  And both come up looking at this photo.

First of all, my kid is huge. And yet, she’s still a kid. She’s the smallest she’ll ever be again and she’s the biggest kid I’ve had. She’ll always be. When I look at her in this picture I see myself, my sisters, her little girl self and her not too far into the future adolescent self. I see a young lady that is sweet and strong and very serious (but still silly). She feels big and wonders wide. She sisters incredibly. She may have a tendency to go from zero to sixty in a flash. She’s every part of me I longed to mother and nearly every piece that I’d venture made me hard to mother.

I see her face changing. I see her permanent teeth and her freckles that grow by the year. I see the budding knowledge behind her eyes. I see my eight and almost a half years of living my life for her. I see all the sacrifice and none of the pain. I see the successes. I carry the happy memories and the lessons learned and the strength added to the people and the relationships and the family. Often, we wear the pride. And our kids know don’t even know that’s part of the being them, being us–the pride we wear for having made it here.

And then I look at me. In some ways I’m at my best. In some ways I’ve begun to show my wear and tear. But not, like in a falling-apart way. More like a worn-in way. Like a pair of leather shoes. Settling in for the long haul. Blurring at the edges for your own benefit (and for some, sanity). Signaling the living. That knowing.

I also see the unknown in my eyes. I am not sure where this kid will take us. But I still see the trust in hers. That she will be taken care of. That her parents still [mostly] know best.

I don’t love the wrinkles. But I don’t mind their meaning. I am grown now. I may not want to be, but to have a girl like this it must mean I am. I am happy with where the years have taken me, or…where I have taken the years. You don’t hit thirty with a second grader without wrinkles and gray to show for it (or if you do/did, I don’t fucking want to know). The sentiments of age and growth–and especially wisdom–are beyond beauty.

But I can still cringe a teeny bit.

Or smile a tad less in photos.

Also my eyebrows are on point, my hair is kind of amazing, and the lipstick polka dot dress combo (with a trench on top?!) cannot be beat. I might need to start wearing that every day.

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