Reflections in the Mirror: Then and Now
I don't know what the fascination was... the mirror just always called out to me... My sister would often catch me making pucker lips, talking into it like I was on TV or any such thing. I always had a pretend audience. Famous, eyes on me, in the mysterious world behind the mirror. I was a dreamer, I had a big imagination, and the world before me seemed exciting and full of promise. I could be or do anything I wanted.
The mirror became one of my first stages, second only to my own family who would encourage, laugh and watch me clamor for attention. I would go on to "perform" on various stages and platforms during my years growing up; living room dance parties with myself, my sister, or friends. The giggly, loud preteen girlishness that dominated my middle years, while belting out songs on my backyard deck for the neighborhood to unknowingly hear, dance recitals, plays, choir performances, soccer fields, student councils, leadership clubs, assemblies, etc. They all helped to shape the girl I would grow into, the woman I've become now. They all gave me a sense of self, and confidence to go out and try something new. They also shaped what my growing-up years entailed.
In the years since I've been playing to a very different mirror. The one I see now is hurriedly stared into as I try to quickly do make-up and fix hair, all while answering someone else's questions, needs, and concerns. Sometimes I avoid looking into it all together so that I don't dwell on the extra rolls around the middle, the pouchy scar from my 4 beautiful children, and the perceived imperfections with my ever-aging body. I sometimes feel like it's a broken mirror reflecting back cracked fragments and pieces of what I once imagined my life to be.
However, the mirror tells only a small portion of who this woman is. My messy, greasy hair is on day three of being unwashed, my clothes hug a little more tightly in some places than they did a few months ago. The make-up I stuck on this morning is fading to create dark circles under my eyes that could be mistaken for lack of sleep, a busy day and no time to retouch, or an unexpected crying fest. All would be correct. As I brush my teeth I listen to the water dripping down the sink, I wonder about this woman in the reflection.
Day to Day
My introspection takes over and begins to replay scenes, bits and pieces of my day that swirl around in my mind. I'm putting my youngest to bed, he's three. Hours before, he and his older sister were giggling loudly and adorably at Artic Circle about his ice cream cone that was almost as big as his whole face and smeared all over his cute little mouth and nose. He was bathed and clean, the sticky evidence of ice cream enjoyed, long gone. I was singing and tucking him in when he says, "I don't want you to leave," he pleads as he senses my restlessness and the bedtime ritual coming to a close. He holds onto my arm a little and says with excitement in his voice and eyes growing bigger. "I wish we had your jammies in my room, and dad's jammies, and a bunk bed in my room. Then we could all sleep in here." And then onto a new topic about wanting a cage for his stuffed puppy dog. I finally pull away after several more hugs and kisses later, to go put my little girl to bed. The girl, who I swear, was just three, two seconds ago. I sing her a few songs while I tickle her back and she hugs me and tells me she'll see me in the morning. I creep out of her room and the silence of the night hits me. It was then that I realized how different my life is now from what it was six years ago, let alone 20.
This bedtime scene now being played out by my two youngest children, I realize, will not last very long. My older two are out late tonight at a professional basketball game with their dad. Their days of playing pretend, giggling hysterically about ice cream mustaches, and getting excited about snuggling up with mom to read books before bed are fading rapidly. It's instead being replaced with a newfound interest in watching football, basketball, and late-night movies with friends. My two little boys with large imaginations and big dreams are morphing into a young tween and teen right before my very eyes. And it leaves a whole lot of contrasting feelings in my heart and mind. No one can prepare you for it. They're evolving and changing. And I feel it in me too.
I touch the mirror, reflecting on the girl she was, the young woman she was growing into, and the woman she is still striving to become. The image of who I once thought she would be is different from who I am now. The broken reflection of her dreams is more profound and meaningful. Those cracks represent the full life she's lived. The course corrections-the more meaningful, but less glamorous route- to become this woman of sustenance and hopefully, gained some wisdom and maturity along the way.
Just like my kids, I'm evolving. We don't have to have it all figured out. The mirror will keep on reflecting whatever we put in front of it. And it will change, but that doesn't mean it has to be sad because it looks different than what was originally hoped for, or dreamed it would be. I just hope I can reflect light and love, along with the cracks, brokenness, and insecurities. I hope it reflects a life lived with sharp and smooth edges, all joining together to create a beautiful, imperfect, reflection of light, love, wisdom, and empathy. The woman I am becoming.
Check out Lacy's blog, Joyful Whisperings for more posts on womanhood, motherhood, mental health, wellness, faith, and everything in between!