I tuck in, and I pull the t-shirt back out of my striped drawstring pajama pants. This waist, this waist, I suck in, and puff out standing sideways to look. Wasn't it smaller, firmer just this winter? Lying on the carpet I huff and puff through 100 crunches. Exhaling and inhaling as I work at the waist which is and isn't what I want it to be on any given day. There will be 100 more after lunch and 100 before bedtime. I whisper to myself that it all makes a difference, none of it done for the waist is a waste of time. Pulling jeans on I'm sure I can tell a difference, maybe just so here and there. Even so, isn't the slight rounding, isn't that evidence of, or my trophy from babies that kicked, hiccuped and grew under my heart?
The early morning sunlight shows off all the exquisite shades of blonde, brown and gray tresses. All those glorious shades. They're all mingled and curled into an unruly pony tail hanging down my shoulder. Just seven weeks out from my hairdresser and the telltale signs are too clearly evident: gray down the part and whitening at the temples. I yearn for gray to make me feel distinguished, but I am left feeling old before my time. I know I have earned this shade, I know each gray is worthy of its place on my head as I twist my hair into a knot at the nape of my neck. I smooth down those wiry grays and wonder if I ever stopped to appreciate the intricate shades of blonde before the arrival of gray. Gray with a mind of its own. Gray that whispers, I have really lived...
I'm slipping rings on fingers and wondering if those hands aren't wrinkled just a little more? Aren't they more tenderly freckled than last spring? I twist a silver mongrammed band around my ring finger that was once broken on a late-night snowy sled ride down a slick white neighborhood hill. Wasn't that night full of laughter, even at the moment I knew my finger was going to need an x-ray? Isn't that memory worthy of the everso gentle slant of that finger? The ache of arthritis in that joint? And that silky white nick of a scar where thumb meets hand, where the IV went into the artery after others collapsed during one of my baby's labors... Aren't these all trophies and proof of my well-lived life? Thinking of them as such is my goal as years roll by.
When I imagine them disappearing, gone forever by some new treatment, cream, or exercise, I wonder, would I be erasing what I lived so well to earn? I am still learning to be comfortable in my own skin. Learning to be more comfortable in my life's happiness, and even in its sadness. I know the outside changes go on and on as each year marches past, etching me here and there, more and more, little by little. Rounding me out, softening me, freckling me, graying me because of a more deeply lived and more deeply loved life.