Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dear young woman at CVS,
You are so beautiful and full of youth.  Every time you check me out I look at your innocent face, all of about 17 years old and I can't help but envy your physical beauty.  Your face is gentle, and soft.  You have no dark circles under your sleepless eyes.  You are rested and calm.  Your skin shows it.  You smile graciously time and time again to whoever passes you by and you have a gentle way about you.  I look at your hair falling smoothly across your shoulders and as you walk away with that child-like bounce, I can't help but covet the ease with which you carry yourself. 

While catching your glance, I think about how strange it is that during the time when our skin, hair, and body is at it's best, we are the least aware of that truth.  Much like I did ten years ago, you probably just take it for granted.  You don't mean to of course, but you know no different.  Your life is a tangled web of simple daily tasks and you are consumed with plans of your future.

Slow down, my friend. 
Look in the mirror slowly and take yourself in.  Breathe in the wonder of these less complex days.  Sooner than you realize you will see yourself in that same mirror and wonder where you have gone.  You will appear different.  Time will have passed and life will have changed you, leaving behind a person that you may have to get acquainted with all over again. 

When I look at you I want to tell you so badly that in just a few short years, life may change you.  Not only emotionally but physically.  Someday instead of wearing fresh, dewy skin you will have many lines surrounding your mouth; hopefully a sign of lots of laughter.  My hope is that in ten years when I see you out and about, I see a gentle sparkle in your eye rather than the strain of dark circles that tell a terrible story.  I pray for you as I see you walk past me, unknowing.  I pray that as you age, even in ten years, that you would do so with as much grace as you exude now.

I now see the circle of life so much more clearly.  I imagine that women who have gone before me are longing to stop and tell me what changes my body will endure in the next decade, but I believe they refrain from telling me to preserve some of that sweet innocence that goes along with every age.  I want to tell you all I have been through in the past two years, as if to defend my newly worn face and expressions.

  For now, I only know what I know now.  And it is much different than what I knew ten years ago.  I can only hope I would gain new laugh lines and fine lines that define the joy that life has brought to me.  I can only pray that I don't endure tragedy that turns those lines from laughter to despair in a visible minute.  But I might....
And so might you.
But looking at you, I want to spare those thoughts from you because life will teach you.  Thankfully it isn't my job.

When I look in the mirror these days, I am in awe of what I see.  It's much different than it once was and I often wonder what people think when they see me now.  Can they see the pain that is etched in my eyes?  Do they know the strain that causes my forehead to crease?  Do they see the hope that draws up by the creases of my lips when I gently smile at our baby with fear and wonder? 
Or do they just see time.  Time passing and a person aging? 
Because there is more than that in this face. 

And when I stand in front of the mirror after my bath and allow myself a moment to examine this body, I am mesmerized.  I see 3 healthy pregnancies and a strong foundation that has the ability to carry children.  I see thousands of marks etched into my fair skin, leaving behind memories of excitement and anticipation, waiting for the arrival of those babies.  I see loose skin that was stretched far past it's boundaries. 
But most of all, I see strength. 
Strong legs that carry me many miles on a long, quiet run.  I see shoulders that are curved by the constant movement of dancing with a baby on my hip.  I see breasts; now absent, from feeding life.   When I look in the mirror at me, I see capable.

Life has led me here.  Life and time. 
And life will do the same for you.  Right now, your face is pure and true to you.  You seem content and happy.  You wear no foundation to help cover your days and the skin on your face is stretched so naturally.  You are truly beautiful. 

What I want to tell you more than anything is that one day when you look in the mirror and you wonder where the 'old you' has gone...please remember she's still you.
She is you with more magnitude.  More experience.  More patience.  More grace.  More pain.  More joy.  More suffering.  More education.  More strength.  More poise.  More diligence.  More wisdom.  More laughter.  More foundation.  More stretch marks.  More skin.  More life.
and More beauty.  Far more beauty.

Don't take today for granted.  Enjoy your beauty and your youth.  But when the day comes and you are surprised by the woman in the mirror, appreciate her too.  She has carried you and will continue to do so. 
She is capable.

The redhead with some laugh lines and a long way to go...


Amanda said...

I started following your blog after Kenzie referenced it on hers. Thank you for these words today. I think, like most women, I have a love/hate relationship with my body...more hate than love most days. Thank you for these brave, beautiful words of truth! They were needed!

Tiffany said...

I love this. One of my favorite posts yet! After only two pregnancies, my tummy skin sags beyond recognition. But I would not change it, because it held life. And to even write that gives me chills - that God would have used my body to hold a soul as He carefully knit and weaved His creation inside of me.

Kalli said...

Loved reading this this morning. I laughed to myself yesterday as one of the teenage girls that helps Ry's dance class talked about turning 19 and I thought back to how things have changed for me since 19. It's amazing how much you take for granted and aren't aware of.

Ashleigh said...

Loved it. Made me cry :)