The Beauty of a Woman: Bring on Those Wrinkles!

I see my mother when I look in the mirror. The line of my jaw, the way my eyelids crease,  the bump on the bridge of my nose. But I especially see her when I’m tired – when my skin is sagging and flat and my brow is wrinkled. I think, ohhh, I look old.

Mom at 79, with daughter (me), granddaughter & great-granddaughter

Mom last year, with daughter (me), granddaughter & great-granddaughter

And yet when I get to see my mother in person (about twice a year since we’re 2,000 miles apart), I see beauty. Yes, at 79 years and 10 months old, she definitely has wrinkles. And age spots. And she’s not very tall anymore. But she is strong and intelligent and her eyes can sparkle with fun.

All my growing up, Mom worked:  at an office job, at home, with the horses and other livestock. I’d try to bury myself in a book after my chores were done and she’d call me out to help with something. In later years, we’d talk on the phone and about 10 pm she’d mention she had to hang up so she could finish painting a room or installing a light fixture. Even now, I feel guilty sitting around reading if another adult walks through the room!

Now Mom actively gardens almost two acres by herself. She could use some help with the mundane hard labor but has a hard time finding someone who “knows how to work.” She offers a certain amount per hour with the possibility of doubling it if they can keep up with her.  So far, whether they’re 18 or 30, they can’t.

Heck with those youngsters – I’ve got 25 years on my mother and I can’t keep up with her!

Mom is very self-contained, enjoying a good time with a few friends, but also quite content to spend days in her garden without seeing anyone. She still builds bookcases and outdoor sheds, fixes the dog/deer fencing, digs out the pond. We kids breathed a collective sigh of relief when she decided she really didn’t need to do roof repairs herself anymore.

Like most seniors, she grumbles about government and young people both, and she still worries about her adult children and grandchildren. But from her Social Security, she donates to veterans’ organizations and takes food and clothing to people in need.

Mom’s not my only role model for aging with strength and grace.

Sister B's whole face is like this!   (Image via Flickr, cc license)

Sister B’s whole face is like this!
(Image via Flickr, cc license)

I’ve worked with someone a few times in the temple who has far more wrinkles than Mom. Sister B is about 92 and her face looks like a Shar Pei. But she has the kindest, most loving eyes I have ever seen. One time I told her, “I want to be you when I grow up.” She smiled, looked around the temple, and said, “You will be if you keep coming here.”

I wish I had a picture of Sister B for you, but her image in my head is strong. It doesn’t matter that her skin is not dewy and young, that she’s slightly hunched over or that her bones feel fragile. Her spirit is beautiful and it shines in her face.

I think the only people who have naturally smooth, youthful faces when they’re old are the silly ones who have sailed through life with no thought. You don’t grow spiritually, emotionally, or any other way without challenges.  Wrinkles are simply a badge of the years you’ve spent loving and laughing and crying and learning.

Mom & Dad, 2009

Mom & Dad, 2009

So when I look in the mirror, it’s not my gravity-laden skin I see now. I look for loving eyes, for a sparkle of fun, for strength in my muscles and my character. I want to see Mom in my reflection. I’m on my way to being her when I grow up.

First, what’s your take on wrinkles and other aspects of aging?  And are you still deciding what you want to be when you “grow up?”

boaw-logo-2015-originalSecond, this post is part of The Beauty of a Woman Blogfest 2015.  Click here to visit the main site and find other wonderful blogs about a woman’s true beauty!

This entry was posted in Deep Thoughts, Home & Family, TAKE JOY! and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to The Beauty of a Woman: Bring on Those Wrinkles!

  1. Gorgeous, Jennifer! Thank you for this inspiring post, and for participating in the fest. 🙂 Many cheers for those wrinkles!
    August McLaughlin recently posted..10 Ways to Look and Feel As Lovely As You Are #BOAW2015My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thanks, August! You’ve put a lot of work into building up the Beauty of a Woman Blogfest, and I”m proud to be part of it this year!

  2. Amaryllis T says:

    Like my Nana says, “Embrace the wrinkles.”
    Bet your skin is soft 🙂

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      I had one grandmother who would have said that, but another who definitely wouldn’t! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Jen

  3. Kate Wood says:

    “Wrinkles are simply a badge of the years you’ve spent loving and laughing and crying and learning.” I love this, so much. Yes ~ Bring ’em! Great post, Jennifer 😉

  4. KM Huber says:

    This is such a thoughtful post, full of the grace of living. It is quite inspiring. Thank you.
    Karen
    KM Huber recently posted..The Beauty of Being is the Truth of a WomanMy Profile

  5. Excellent post!
    Years ago, I realized that when I thought about a person, the way I felt about their character colored how handsome/beautiful I thought they were. This revelation came about two seconds after my husband reconnected with an old school friend, who I’d always thought of as ‘gorgeous’ … poor guy was quite homely for about fifteen minutes, which was how long it seemed to take his personality to dominate his physical shortcomings. After fifteen minutes, I was back to thinking how handsome he was, but have never forgotten how started I was by his actual appearance.. 😉
    BTW, when you say, “I think the only people who have naturally smooth, youthful faces when they’re old are the silly ones who have sailed through life with no thought.” I think, hear,hear, but she forgot about the ones, who had so many wrinkles stretched that they look artificial. 😉

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Thanks for the in-depth comment, Jeanne. I’d never thought about character dominating someone’s physical appearance, but how true! Just like my frustration level with the car in front of me goes down when I know realize who they are! 🙂

      And yes, I did think of those who have been “stretched.” I can think of a few celebrities who make me shudder! Which led to the phrase naturally smooth faces. 🙂

  6. Love this, Jen. What a great tribute to your mom, and to aging gracefully!

    I have very oily skin, which has been an annoyance for most of my life. A side effect is that I don’t wrinkle much. I have mixed emotions about that.

    It’s nice to look younger than my years, most of the time. But I kinda miss having those badges of living and loving and laughing!
    Kassandra Lamb recently posted..Forgiving My Body — #BOAW2015My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      You do look a younger than your age – I’d take it, if I were you! You’ll get your badges eventually. 🙂

  7. Wrinkles are laugh, love, and life lines. The sheer beauty in a life well lived written on your face should be enough to better understand why wrinkles are so important. 🙂
    Kitt Crescendo recently posted..#BOAW2015 Owning Sexual Empowerment #GirlBoner StyleMy Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      “…why wrinkles are so important.” That’s a great thought, Kitt – I’ve been focusing on accepting them, but hadn’t put them in the category of being important. I think I’ve got some more pondering to do!

  8. Your mother sounds like a crackerjack. You take after her in so many ways – your ways. thanks for a beautiful reminder
    Louise Behiel recently posted..What Makes a Woman Beautiful? #BOAW15My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      She’s quite the crackerjack, Louise, and if I can be half the woman she is, I’ll be proud.

  9. Noel Duerden says:

    Maybe you would like to take another jab the wonder of wrinkles.
    Count Your Wrinkles

    Hello everyone, you’re looking great,
    You don’t look a minute over ninety-eight.
    What have you to show for all the sweat and tears
    And the smiles and laughter of those many years?

    (Chorus)
    Count your wrinkles, name them one by one
    Counting wrinkles can be lots of fun
    Don’t you pity people who have none?
    Count your many wrinkles, see what time has done

    Count from top to bottom or from left to right
    Counting wrinkles one by one could take all night.
    If you’re in a hurry, here’s what you can do,
    Count them all on one side and multiply by two.

    Repeat Chorus

    Some may say that naming wrinkles is insane,
    Fred and Sue and Benjamin and Mary Jane,
    Each and every wrinkle is a special friend,
    They will all be with you to your journey’s end

    Repeat Chorus