I’m a couple of days late for a venture that Morning Glory started this week; it is a twice monthly writing project for women bloggers called “Woman to Woman.” This topic, the first, is entitled “In this skin” in which you tell how aging has affected you personally, your attitude towards it and what you’ve learned from it.

I look back at my twenties and thank God and my family for having patience with me. I was married and had my first three children in that decade, but I think I was a bit of a mess. We struggled financially and unfortunately I didn’t cope well. I think I spent a lot of time submerged in books because I had trouble dealing with reality. That’s hard to admit, but I think there’s a lot of truth in it.

I had a difficult time turning thirty (I guess I should say dealing with turning thirty!); however, my thirties were very prolific: five of my eight children were born then (at ages thirty, thirty-three, thirty-five, thirty-seven, and thirty-nine), and I definitely preferred them to my twenties. For years the age thirty-three had a special significance for me because that was Christ’s age when He was crucified. I imagined it as an important year. My fourth child (and first daughter) was conceived the week of my thirty-third birthday; carrying a child and giving birth was such a special way to spend that year for me.

Turning forty didn’t bother me a bit. Tomorrow is my forty-first birthday. I know I’ve talked a lot lately about losing my mother three years ago and how it’s affected me. One thing I haven’t mentioned is how it pushed me into new territory. My mother and I were very close and she was a strong influence in my life. I counted on her advice, but I never realized how shaped I was by it until she was gone. My mother dislike hydrangeas; she thought those big, blue blossoms were just tacky! The summer after she passed, I admitted to myself for the first time that I actually like hydrangeas, and I bought two of them and planted them in our yard. I wasn’t snubbing my mother’s memory, but rather honoring a change that was taking place: making decisions independent of her feedback. This is not the same as her influence, which will always be with me. She also disliked the color orange. She’d once had an unpleasant surgery and her room was in a hospital wing which was decorated orange. I now own orange clothing, etc., and see it as a happy color. The bad connection is no longer there for me; it was hers.

I am content right where I am, right here in this skin. Going back to another time would not only remove the presence of some of my children in my life, but strip away the knowledge, wisdom, and experience that time has layered on my body and soul. Laugh lines and stretch marks are there for good reason!

For more “In this skin” posts, visit Morning Glory.

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