Friday, January 30, 2015
A Wrinkle In Time
It happens one morning when you wake up, glance in the bathroom mirror and realize your face looks like an un-ironed shirt. You wonder---is it from stress? The kids? Too many libations the night before? You vow to get more sleep, take your vitamins and spend a fortune on miracle face creams. If spackle can fill the cracks in a wall, then an expensive wrinkle epoxy ought to do a damn fine job covering the crevices on your face. Unless, of course, your skin looks like a lunar landing strip. The good people at Lancome have yet to invent a facial epoxy that will fill cracks that deep.
When I was in my mid-thirties, it was no coincidence that I sprouted my first wrinkle around the time my fourth child hit the Terrible Twos. A deep furrow formed across my brow, giving the impression that I was angry all the time. Or constipated. I began slathering my face nightly with rich emollients that promised to erase my worry lines (and the remnants of a youth spent poolside with a rum runner in one hand and a bottle of baby oil in the other). I was terrified that after all those years of sun tanning, I'd end up with a face that resembled a potato left too long in a microwave.
Once I reached my forties, the deep grooves that bracketed my mouth were evidence of my inability to defy the laws of gravity. They formed parentheses when I smiled, acting as a dam to prevent the tsunami of cheek flesh from falling forward. As much as I tried to conceal the signs that I was, indeed, a middle-aged woman, the wrinkles on my forehead were Mother Nature's way of revealing my true age like the concentric circles inside a California Redwood.
There were other unavoidable tell-tale signs that I was well past the carefree days of my youth. The so-called "laugh lines" around my eyes were not funny at all once the wrinkles reached my eyebrows and formed tributaries similar to those near the Mississippi river.
Now that I've accepted the fact that I can no longer disguise my age behind expensive makeup and creams, I realize that facial wrinkles are the least of my problems. There are other parts on my body that the wrinkle cadets have invaded while I've been busy trying to prevent my face from looking like a peach pit. The other day, I noticed several rings around my neck. Four, to be exact. I now have a neck that resembles a Slinky. How have I missed this delicate area during my nightly ritual of slathering creams heavier than margarine on my face?
And that's not the only section I've overlooked. I've got wrinkles on my hands now, too. The skin has become so thin there that my veins have popped up like the Appalachian Mountain range. There are also deep creases on my elbows and knee caps, for God's sake. My joints look like a wrinkled rhino's butt. "Excuse me, dear lady at the Lancome counter, do you have any rhino butt wrinkle cream in stock?"
I prefer to think that the lines on my face show character, not the actual stress of aging or too many summers spent on a beach with a silver reflector beneath my chin. Undoubtedly, I'll be picking up a few more wrinkles along the way, but that's okay. These little creases are the merit badge I've earned from years of laughter and a life well lived.
And no cream can take that away.