It happened the other night as I rocked my littlest baby to sleep. She was drifting off to sleep and I was dozing in and out of sleep myself. Then I looked down and thought: "Whose hands are those?"
And I felt dead serious. Like, what the heck happened to my hands?
Maybe it was the lighting or simply my lack of sleep but I did not recognize my own hands. The wedding ring? Yes. The baby they were holding? Absolutely. But my hands looked so foreign to me. I've never had very delicate looking hands. They're small, but smooth and pretty? Not really. But now? Now they look just so....old. And tired. And worn.
When someone says parenting ages you, they are not kidding.
Before we had kids this was me (fancy, I know):
And now this is me:
I swear it's only been 6 years.
The old woman that laid dormant in me all these years is leaking out of my pores and digging crevices along my skin. There are endless bags under my eyes and I could use a good teeth whitening because COFFEE is LIFE right now.
And my hands. Oh my Lord...my HANDS. They seemed to have aged overnight. Where is my old Mary Kay silk hands when I need it??? I even have a callous on my pinky knuckle. No idea why. The old lady in me is definitely making an appearance. (I mean I even wrote the words "need" and "Mary Kay" in the same sentence. WHO AM I?)
There's the other side of being an old lady though. One I quite like. I'm pretty jolly. I understand that the most worthwhile things are often the simplest. I enjoy simply spending time with my people. I let things go faster. I'm more patient. I know it's easier to forgive quickly than to wait for an apology. I'm better at letting people live their own life and loving them through it. Motherhood does this to us. I am certain. It is one of God's great tools for refining us as women.
There was a time in college when I thought I wouldn't have kids until I was at least 35. Marriage? Maybe 30. Clearly God put some things and someone in my path that made those plans drastically change. So I've had to reinvent myself into a mother. And I'm pretty damn good at it.
So many people told me to not lose myself in motherhood. I get how easy it is to do. Parenting is a jungle. But I've found that I really like my monkeys. I don't mind being lost in this jungle with them for a while. Even if it ages me from the inside out, leaving me a little weathered and worn but also wiser.
Whose hands are those? They are mine. They have fed and bathed and cuddled and held and loved, loved, LOVED; and I am proud of the work they have done.
"Honor her for all her hands have done, and let her work bring praise at the city gate."