When did you first notice you were getting older?
For me it was that fateful moment when I looked into the mirror and saw my mother staring back at me.
I guess it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that I’m getting more like my mother as I grow older; that’s what happens when you get older, right? Girls start to look like their mothers and boys like their fathers, it’s just genetics after all.
But it still came as a shock. I was used to seeing myself in the mirror, had been for many years. I didn’t always like what I saw but I was accustomed to my face (Yay! My Fair Lady!) I never thought of myself as vain but I do spend an awful lot of time seeing myself in mirrors or windows. So it was a bit of a shock when the woman who looked back at me, although familiar, seemed to have morphed into my mother!
I think it was the lack of fringe that did it. I was trying to grow out an annoying long fringe rather than go to the salon and have the ‘what do you want to do with it?’ chat with my hairdresser. I can never make my mind up what will suit me and end up going for one of my two default hairstyles – mid length with a fringe or short with a fringe. So I decided to let my fringe grow out and sweep my hair to one side. And that’s what did it.
Mum always had her hair swept up and over. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that adopting a similar hairstyle would highlight the similarities between us. And as my mother didn’t resemble the Elephant Man there were worse things I could have looked like.
I suppose that Mum had a similar Damescene moment as she looked a lot like her mother. There must have been a moment when she saw her own mother in the mirror. I wonder how she felt about it. Did it make her sad, thinking about the passing years and lost youth? Or did she accept this as a normal part of aging and rejoice that she didn’t look more like plain Aunt X? And, more to the point, why didn’t she warn me that this was going to happen?!?
But the real problem was that it wasn’t my mother when she was young that I resembled, it was my mother in my wedding pictures, the middle aged mother. And at that moment I knew that I was getting older, was no longer in the first flush of youth and other clichés.
So now I have to accept that I’m a middle aged woman with my mother’s face. And I think I’m ok with that. After all that means I have some of my grandmother’s face too and her face was smiley and crinkly in a warm, happy way.