Mom’s Voice: A Wrinkle in Time

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PUBLISHED by catsmob.comA friend of mine who teaches kindergarten posted on her Facebook wall:

“One of my students asked to draw a self portrait of me today and she promised she would not include the wrinkles!!!”

It received 14 likes.

Among the handful of comments “Got to love it! Right from the mouth of babes!”

Got to love it? My response was quite the opposite. Call me a killjoy, but I did not find this cute, or adorable.

That a girl in kindergarten would already hold the belief that wrinkles are somehow bad or wrong or something that should be omitted from a woman’s face in order that her portrait be more beautiful is a startling reflection of our societal values.

Hopefully, my friend said to her student, “Oh no, please don’t leave my wrinkles out of the picture, they are a part of me and I love them.”

I want my daughters to enjoy every stage of the life cycle the way nature intended. That includes aging naturally, gracefully, and confidently. If our girls are growing up in a world with role models that are scrambling to erase, remove, lift, or hide wrinkles, how can they look in the mirror later in life and not be self critical?

I am in the camp that believes with age comes wisdom, but I also believe with age comes a type of beauty that can only be earned through a life well lived. A life that has served others, survived loss, laughed out loud. A life defined by love, experiences, mistakes, messes, friendships and opportunities to learn from and connect with others. If one of the by products of that is wrinkles, bring it. From every line, crevice, fold, bend, or fissure the ever evolving and deepening beauty of a woman radiates.

Ponder this: Would a child ever consider drawing a Shar Pei without its wrinkles? Or for that matter, a walnut, a raisin? A peach pit? Of course not! Because that’s how Mother Nature made those things—perfectly wrinkly.

When I was little, I had a teddy bear named Rodney. At night, I slept with him, my arm always tightly around his neck. What started as an evenly stuffed, and fluffy bear over time became a limp-necked, lumpy, thinning, animal with a dull plastic nose, loosely hanging on by a few threads below the scratched plastic eyes.

While it was a beautiful bear in the beginning, with few imperfections, it would have been impossible to pick him out of a line up of all the other bears just off the assembly line. It was only after years of love, and wear and tear; only after nights of tight squeezes, seeking comfort from scary movies, slumber party romps, and being used as a pillow on long car rides, could anyone really recognize the soul of Rodney.

If teddy bears could acquire wrinkles, by the time I started college, Rodney would have been quite a wrinkly fellow and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As the great bard, William Shakespeare so succinctly put it, “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

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