I’m feeling nostalgic tonight, thanks to a glass of wine, and started going through old photos. I was looking for a fall-themed shot to use as my cover photo on Facebook. I wanted one of my two kids together, but, well, they’re the two least cooperative kids ever.
So instead I found myself perusing my photos and feeling maudlin over the days that have long since passed. The days before they lost their front teeth, when they had those adorable little baby teeth that were too small for their mouths.
Now they have the dreaded “second-grade smile.” The awkward one with the larger-than-necessary two front teeth. Well, my son’s not too bad. In fourth grade now, his mouth is catching up. I just wish he would smile more!
My daughter, on the other hand. Well, she’s freaking adorable even so, and a total ham for the camera. Probably always will be. But she’s lost one tooth, and the other front tooth shows no signs of loosening. I want to sneak into her room while she’s asleep and wiggle that thing. How freaking adorable would it be if she were missing both of those for Christmas? So cute I can’t stand it! You should hear her little lisp….
I’m obsessing about the teeth. But of course it’s more than that. It’s my daughter’s once-chubby little cheeks, that are thinning out as her arms and legs elongate and she grows into that kind of coltish young girl you see trying out halter tops and attempting to look older than she is. No, I say! Don’t do it! When she wants to wear pink from head to toe I’m all for that– the longer she looks like a little girl, the happier I am. Pink and sparkles and flounces and “clicky” shoes that are covered in more sparkles– Pinkalicious meets Fancy Nancy. Yes!
It’s my son’s fascination with Super Why, Toy Story, and Blue’s Clues. Which, OK, he still has at times. But now it’s interspersed with him catching a glimpse of the cute, young receptionist at the dentist office and giving her a Joey Tribbiani-like “How you doin’?” once-over that completely freaks me out. The early signs of puberty. The fact that he can almost look me in the eye when we stand face to face. His struggle with homework and the knowledge that we’re still facing eight years of that–with just him. Another two more with my daughter. The future, staring us down, as we prepare for whatever may come at the the both of them.
It’s the high school friend, with his once-smooth skin furrowed more deeply than I recall, and his hair streaked with grey, and thinner than it used to be, and we’re talking about children and spouses and jobs and houses but jammed in between that we’re hitting on books, talking about literature, just like the good old days, so that paradox is jarring.
Especially when I catch a glimpse of myself. And this is what the whole thing is really about, I suppose. A glance into the mirror, catching sight of my eyes without glasses, the crinkles at the corners when I smile, the light glinting off the gray at my temples. The tiny age spot that has shown up in recent weeks which I tell myself is just due to too much time spent outside in my athletic pursuit of youth. The skin on the backs of my hands, wrinkled because it’s still autumn and I haven’t yet gotten back into the habit of frequent application of hand cream, but they’re drying out nonetheless.
The hands that remind me of my mother’s.
Who, by the way, still looks young to my eyes.
As I imagine I still look to my children. So despite their aging, and my aging, I will continue to try to see myself through their eyes.
Because, I hope, I still look young to them.