I hope you don’t mind my saying so, but you are looking a little rough. I mean, I know you’re getting older, but where’d all those lines come from?

Oh? You want to explain? Please, be my guest. I’ll listen.

There? Those wrinkles? Oh, yeah. They’re about 25 years old now, aren’t they? Oh, now I remember. Those are the laugh lines, the big smiles, from knowing you had just married your best friend. Wow. Seems like just yesterday, doesn’t it? And the ones near them? Hard to believe, but they were created by the grief, the unbearable sadness you felt when, only five weeks after he had walked you down the aisle, your father died of a massive heart attack. My God, he was only 47. He was younger than you are now. Unbelievable.

Let’s move on. Oh, wow. Look at those. Could you have smiled any bigger? On Mothers’ Day in 1991, when the stick turned blue? Remember that? God he was a fun baby. Oh, wait. See that line there? That one was from the scare you had at the hospital when the doctor told you the tests showed that your beautiful boy was at risk for SIDS. And you had to bring him home on a machine that would signal if he stopped breathing. That one’s pretty bad, but it’s placed right next to the line where you smiled in prayer and thanksgiving that such a machine even existed. That boy still creates frown lines, doesn’t he? But damn if he can’t still make you laugh.

Oh, now those? Those are incredible. That baby girl certainly added some laugh lines, didn’t she? Have you ever seen a more beautiful baby? Slept through the night immediately? And has continued to fill your life with joy? She’s responsible for a lot of those lines now, isn’t she? Remember when you’d get so stressed out when she went through that stage of hating her bath? And she’d scream and try to actually scratch the clean off of herself? Funny, now, she won’t go check the mail without a shower and makeup.

Oh, now there’s a roadmap of lines. Wow. Those are from your mom, aren’t they? Twenty years of health scares? Seeing a priest give her last rites at least half a dozen times? There are a lot of them, but most times they are hidden by the lines created when she made you laugh. Remember when she chased the missionaries down the street with a broom because they dared to wipe their feet AFTER they left your living room? They didn’t have video recorders back then, but I guarantee you if they did, that little Spanish spitfire would be all over YouTube. Her death crushed you, but it also made you smile, knowing she was with your dad and no longer suffering. A lot of lines there, face. Good and bad.

Yikes. Look at these. They are the ones born from uncertainty. The ones created by unemployment. The ones created by depression. The ones created by waking up sometimes and wondering why bother. And the ones created by looking out your kitchen window and seeing your beloved garden, and your family, and your life, under the bright white light of a springtime sun.

Hey, what are those? They’re new. Very recent, right? Ah. Those are the lines of embarrassment. When your daughter caught you looking at yourself in the mirror, stretching and imagining what a face lift would do. And when she asked you why you would do that when all you have ever taught her was to be true to who you are and to celebrate every little flaw? Because they are your flaws? And they are created from your life? And are a mirror of who you are? Oops.

Wow.

Dear Face,

You. Look. Amazing.

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