I stood in the bathroom washing my hands. I looked up into the mirror that hangs above the sink to inspect my face a bit. I inspected the weary look gazing out of eyes circled by dark rings, the cheeks that sport dry and blotched skin, the wrinkles that are sneaking into the corners and crevices everywhere.
Oh wow. When did I get so old?
I chanced a look at my hair to evaluate the damage there. It looks like age hasn’t forsaken that either. It lies limply, lacking much body or shine. And GASP! What is that?! My first gray hair?!
I could hardly believe what I was seeing! I plucked it out as quickly as possible, wishing I could pluck the years away just as easily. I stalked into my bedroom where my husband, Joe, was getting ready for bed.
“Joe! LOOK!” I shrieked and shoved the offensive hair under his eyes for inspection.
“What is it? What are you so worked up about?”
“What am I so worked up about it? Check it out! It’s my first gray hair! Isn’t that nuts?!”
“Meh.” His reaction was less than satisfying.
How could he not be alarmed? His beautiful young bride was…AGING! This was reason for alarm, was it not? I mean…I’m not even thirty yet! Sure, it’s only a few months away, but thirty is so young. At least it seems much younger as each year passes.
I remember when I was a little girl and I was becoming aware of what the number behind “age” meant. I can recall when my mom was in her thirties. And now here I am…almost thirty. This is just so strange.
I inspected my gray hair some more. Hmm…I think I might know what turned that once brown hair into a gray hair. It was those darn kids of mine.
It was all those sleepless nights spent sitting in the blue recliner, rocking away their sweet infant cries and fretful toddler tears. It was that evening we sat in the emergency department holding 14 month old Dee while he screamed and writhed in pain from his burned palms. It was four labor and deliveries fraught with simultaneous but intense pain and joy.
It was that bout of croup that Elle went through at Thanksgiving. It was the baby I lost in miscarriage on the following Black Friday. It was the nights I tossed and turned with worry about Jeigh’s obsessive compulsiveness. It was the months upon months of nausea during pregnancy. It was the fear of Cee being born into the middle of our family flu epidemic.
It was the all these things and so many other parenting fears, worries, sorrows, toils, and tears.
You know what?
I EARNED that gray hair.
I earned it fair and square with my walk through the fires of motherhood. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t plucked it out. That first gray hair deserves a place of honor.
Maybe on the mantle…
Evelyn is in desperate need of a haircut, but can't seem to find the time with four children ages six and under. You can find her hanging on for dear life at Hanging By a Silver Lining.
*Photo by Urch/Flickr