Aging, Children

Ah Skin, Ah Youth


There’s something sad about a mother who is jealous of her own children.  That’s not me.  If my children succeed where I have failed, I celebrate.

The girls got better report cards than I did—Happy Mother Check Mark.

The girls made varsity sports and I didn’t—Happy Mother Check Mark.

The girls went to their Senior Prom and poor old me did not—Happy Mother Check Mark.

The girls can read maps, are techno whizzes, and know how to use eyeliner—Happy Mother Check Marks.  I could go on and on.  Check. Check. Check.

But the other day, I was looking at Kath’s complexion.  She swears she is getting wrinkles around her eyes, but it would take a mega magnifying glass to find them.  Her skin is beautiful.  In fact, hers might be the skin older women praised me for forty years ago.

Bad Mother Alert!  Jealousy reared its nasty head and flashed its green eyes.  Jealousy tried to leap into her body and make that skin mine. But I stopped it in its slimy tracks.  Motherly pride prevailed.

It’s my turn to do the admiring of young skin.  This concept has taken a while to settle in, and I’ve had to squash my jealousy on a few more occasions.  Now every time I see skin worth trading an entire fall wardrobe for, I give that young lady a Happy Mother Check Mark, no matter whose child she is.  (And if I’m feeling extra motherly, I remind her how much younger I might look now if I had not let myself get suntans in my early years—It’s true; we used baby oil!)  Aging with grace includes embracing and championing people in all stages of life, especially the young–beautiful skin and all.

The portrait is Kath and Laura’s grandma, my mom, Nancy Wenger Kiehne, as a student at Duke University in 1944.  It was painted by one of her boyfriends.  She had lots of them.  Ah youth.