Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their children.
— Doris Day
Aging — such a loaded word. It happens to all of us, but is dealt with in a multitude of ways.
Appearance is just one aspect of aging, but is perhaps one of the most obvious because it is right there, staring at us from the mirror.
Grey hair and wrinkles!
To see how many people are ‘scared’ or ‘ashamed’ of this part of the aging process all you need to do is visit any establishment that sells beauty products. The range of hair colour products and anti-aging (anti-wrinkle) creams and solutions is formidable.
You may not wish to listen to me about hair colouring. I have dyed my hair for years now. It has all been under the guise of boredom — ‘I’m sick of having brown/blonde/black hair … let’s go for a red section.’ I like different colours and styles, but let’s be honest now — these days the money I spend at the hairdresser’s has much more to do with the greys that are poking through than boredom with my current colour.
One of the people I admire most was an ex-Principal. When I met her she had beautiful, shining blonde hair. We all knew it was dyed, but it looked natural and it suited her. One day, after a long weekend, she came to school and her hair was grey. Completely grey! She had decided to get the blonde stripped and go back to her ‘natural’ colour. There were a few double takes that day, but then it was business as usual. I really admired her bravery though.
Then there are wrinkles.
I know people who fight desperately against wrinkles, even though they know it is a losing battle. And, I know people who wear their wrinkles with pride.
My grandmother is one such person. I remember her telling me once, years and years ago, that her wrinkles represented experience, wisdom and sheer hard work. She wore them, and her ‘salt-and-pepper’ hair, with pride rather than shame. As with so many of my grandmother’s characteristics — something to aspire to.
We should celebrate wrinkles rather than be ashamed of them.
As a parent, rather than seeing wrinkles as a sign of getting old and ‘past it’ maybe we should look at them as representing each memory we have of events with our kids.
So today, rather than writing my own paragraphs about aging and wrinkles, I am going to share a poem with you that I absolutely love.
It wasn’t written by a famous poet. Google it, and it is unlikely you will find it (although, with any luck you will now because I am about to publish it).
The poem was written by the sons of a great friend and colleague of mine. The words capture everything about my friend. The poem, beautifully written, celebrates her experience, her compassion, her values … and her wrinkles.
I am sharing this, with her blessing, because I could not say it any better myself.
Parents do get wrinkles from their children, I am sure of it. But these wrinkles represent every thing we have done, everywhere we have been, every tear we have shed, every fear we have endured and every joyous moment we have experienced — with and because of our children.