When I was a baby, it would make me stop crying to set me in front of it (my parents still give me grief about this).
I have spent more time in front a mirror than anyone I know.
Not primping or perfecting the reflection.
But searching and questioning what I see.
Pimples and cowlicks and eyebrows and lips and wrinkles and sun damage and eye color and gray hairs a the number of chins and random face hairs and long eye lashes…all overly scrutinized…all imagined different at one time or another.
I have locked myself in the bathroom, plopped myself criss-cross-applesauce on the counter, and cried to the mirror.
Please be stronger.
Please be better.
Please be braver.
I have stood, tears streaming down my face, and yelled at the mirror: THIS IS NOT WHO I AM! WHY ARE YOU SHOWING ME THIS??
I have stripped down to nothing and chastised the mirror for what it showed me: fat, out of shape, lazy.
I have smacked the mirror with the palm of my hand hoping, that like our TV from my childhood, I could knock the picture back to what looked acceptable to me.
Or at least the truth I see when I look in the mirror.
“I wish you saw what the rest of the world sees,” I have heard my husband, my friends, my family say.
I do not know what this is.
When I look in the mirror I see flaws first.
I hate to admit that.
I want so badly to embrace the confidence I try to put out there. I want the high self-esteem. Not even for myself, but for my boys. It’s important to me to model what is a healthy attitude.
But many times, I don’t see whatever it is other people see.
But I am trying.
I saw a bigger me than I wished, but I mostly didn’t mind. I did just have a baby, after all. And I am still lighter than I was when said baby was conceived.
I saw a good hair day.
I saw eyes that shined with joy.
I saw a nice smile.
I saw a wife and mother who tries really hard to be the best she can be…and when she falls short? She tries again the next day.
In fact…this is what I see most days when I stand in front of the looking-glass.
Well, with the addition of a couple bags under my eyes from all the night feedings.
But I tell myself they are Coach bags.
Oh, and? if Cort passes through the bathroom to our room while I am using the mirror, I see myself as a teenager again…
…because I am probably laughing.
And in that split second, I love myself.
Exactly how I am in the moment.
Also? Happy birthday to my dad who taught me that it’s ok to get the “funniest looks from everyone we meet.”
New book reviewed: Confessions of a Scary Mommy by Jill Smokler