Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 02/18/2019

Growing old gracefully

19924695The years have left their mark. The mirror confirms that.

Yet I know that the wrinkles tell a story. A personal journey, that includes being scuffed up, scabbed over, times I should have, could have, didn’t. A fair share of broken promises, impatient moments, at-the-end-of-my-rope days.

The gray hairs, the nostalgia that seems more prevalent now. Introspection, a sense that there are many fewer days going forward than in the rear view mirror. A sometimes overwhelming feeling of where does the time go. Not wondering in a trivial sort of way, like the shrinkage of time that occurs when you don’t get your Christmas shopping done on time, but the sadness for the passage of time.

But happy things cause wrinkles as well. Those are the laugh lines, parentheses that frame the mouth. The goofy stuff, the laughing at the hilarity of raising eight kids. The things we laugh about when we are all together.

Mary, getting sucked in by a slick-talking timeshare salesman, that her then-fiancé had to do some fast-talking to get her out of. Matthew, who could still be chewing his meat an hour after dinner was over, eating a Tootsie Roll pop and saying, “I like this kind of meat” as he came to the chocolate center. Claire, telling everyone in her first-grade class that her middle name was “Annette”. It isn’t. But a way to explain to everyone that her grandfather had invented the clarinet. Claire Annette. Margaret, the baby, was told by her sisters that she lived in Japan until she learned differently when she got to Kindergarten. No geographical genius there. Kathleen, throwing a fireplace log, saying to her sibling, “Duck”. Her sibling looking into the sky, saying “Where?” as the log made contact with her forehead. That goose egg was one for the record books. Meghan, sporting that curly hair, made all of us smile, and marvel at the chemistry of the spirals that covered her head. Elizabeth, not a care in the world, coming out of first grade with her unzipped backpack with papers flying all over the parking lot. And oh yeah, having lost her third winter jacket of the year. Andrew, backing out of the garage, opening his driver’s side door to hear what his sister was shouting to him from the house, ramming into the side of the garage, dislocating the car door in the process.

That, a hundred-fold, gave me those matching C’s around my mouth. Kind of like the opposite-facing C’s of the Chanel logo.

No Botox here. No “work”. Okay, maybe blonding. I guess that sort of makes me the real deal.

My heart is full. Content. Grateful. Sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes broken.

But the heart, the heart has no wrinkles.

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