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On getting older

September 3, 2013

My post today was supposed to be a fun picture filled recap from our last minute trip to the mountains.  Kind of like a bigger, brighter version of my instagram complete with a recipe or two.  

 But as I sat down last night to go over the few pictures we captured with my good camera something changed.  As I loaded them onto the computer I noticed that Matthew snapped the most beautiful picture of me with Tagg.  We're caught in a moment that any momma and son could be in 100 times throughout the day with no one but themselves noticing.  We'd been in the car for four hours.  And ten hours just the day before.  I have on an old shirt and no make-up.  I had just taken him out of his car seat.  He's smiling as I hold him close and twirl him around and I'm beaming.  
True mother's love. 
And you want to know what my first reaction was?
I look old.

The lines around my eyes took my breath away.  I had no idea they were there. They've crept in and settled deep into my face without asking or announcing their arrival.

I've been having a tough time with that lately.  For the first time in my life, I'm feeling a bit out of control of my body.  I used to highlight the crap out of my hair and every four weeks, like clockwork, the dark roots came back.  It was nothing more than an annoying reminder that it was time to drop another $80.  Now, those roots are grey.  And it feels like there are more of them than dark ones coming in.  And they're coming faster than I can keep up with.  Reminding me with every strand that time is fading along with my hair color.

I'm not sharing this so that you can all chime in with how great I look.  Or how those wrinkles are formed by hours spent feeding and rocking babies in the night.  And how that laugh line around my mouth is just that.  A product of a great big lifetime of smiles.  I get it, I'm 31.  I'm not supposed to look 22.  I know that in my head.  I just didn't know it with my eyes.  I also know that one day I'll look back on this picture and think, damn you were so young once.  

But does all this understanding and knowing stop me from wanting to print out the edited version of this photo?  No.  Did it stop me from adding it to the top of a post about our trip to the mountains today?  No.  I want to show only the edited version with every piece of me.  But I'm not going to do that.  Because one day my daughter will be 31.  She'll look at this picture on our bookshelf and examine her own skin against mine.  And I never want her to fear her own face one day.  I'm trying to be brave about aging so that I can be brave for her.  But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't having a tough time with that lately.

The edited version that I spent thirty minutes working on last night.  Erasing wrinkles and lessening the bags under my eyes.  The way I thought I looked.  The way I might look again after a few weeks of sleeping all night and not traveling.  Maybe with a good eye cream.  Maybe not.


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41 comments:

  1. This photo is really beautiful and so is the sentiment in this post! You look wonderful, and real, and so happy! Your kids won't remember the occasional grey hair or any lines that creep in around your eyes. They'll remember the smile captured so beautifully in this photo!

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  2. The photo is stunning. And this post couldn't have come a a better time as my oldest just started kindergarten. I can't believe I'm entering this next realm of parenting. It has been harder on me than I ever imagine. Harder to let go and harder to admit that I am growing older too. Sometimes I feel I can do this gracefully and other times it all seems like a cruel joke. Thank you for posting your honest thoughts.

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  3. You are so beautiful inside and out, makeup and no makeup! Your babies are so very lucky to call you mama! I personally love the unedited version best, and I think you should frame it!

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  4. You are wise beyond your years girlie! Lucky kiddos!

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  5. I think we are all very critical of ourselves in photos! You look so beautiful in that picture and the moment captured is priceless!
    -Shelley

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  6. "And I never want her to fear her own face one day". Wow and *gulp*, such a powerful statement, there's a lot in there for everyone to think about.

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  7. I agree with Caycee. The unedited version of the photo is my favorite! Great post that everyone can somehow relate!

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  8. great post! especially for your 34 year old bestie!

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  9. I'm right there with ya on this one! I thnk it is, for me atleast, the loss of control...me aging, seeing my kids change so fast, and the incredible high standards I set that I feel like I can never reach. All we want is for a happy childhood for our children to look back on...its a never ending battle. I try and just remember that making memeories is more important than a clean house & that to just live in and enjoy the moment. Thanks for the reality check! Adoe the first pic too!

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  10. I love the last quote. You really do look beautiful, and I hope you can enjoy your youth.

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  11. this last quote -- truth! i always say getting older is better than the alternative! xo

    http://allthingsprettyandlittle.blogspot.com

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  12. Such a beautiful post, in every way. I'm 32 and that number shocks me to my core when I think about it. But then I'm able to look at my heart--my two little ones and a home I love, a husband I adore, all of a sudden 32 doesn't look so bad.

    Thanks for this.

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  13. Thanks for this post. Needed to read this today. I am not a Mamma...hopefully one day I will be but I agree the aging process is difficult. I appreciate hearing that I am not the only one struggling with lines and such that weren't there a few years ago. Such a sweet pic and frame-worthy no doubt!

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  14. What a gorgeous picture! I love your honesty - this is something so many of us feel as well (I turned 35 this year!). Thank you for reminding us all to be brave for our daughters and work to accept those "love lines" as just that! :)

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  15. I love this post so much! I just turned 37 and have been annoyed with the fine (or not so fine) lines and SO MANY GRAYS that have shown up recently. You know you're aging when you have actual conversations with friends about Botox vs Juvederm. I haven't tried either - YET. The picture is great of you and Tagg, and I love that your husband snapped it - so sweet.

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  16. THANK you for sharing this this AM... As I dressed my daughter for her first day of Pre-school this year and as I realize she is turning FOUR tomorrow... Somehow in the midst of all of it... I am four years older, too, and 31 has also brought me a ridiculous amount of wrinkles (thank you Va Beach sunshine) around my eyes. I try to remember that jimmy Buffett claims that "wrinkles only go where the smiles have been". Which really means I am just blessed. I would rather have my wrinkles at 31 and the beautiful two little girls and great hubby I have than no wrinkles and no sweet fam. Without them, I am quite sure the wrinkles wouldn't be so defined. You're a beautiful soul (& face!) Your little girl and boy are indeed going to love this pic.

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  17. I look at the picture of you and think, "she is so young!" as I'm turning 46 next month. I think its too easy to fall into the trap that says older women aren't attractive. Older men look great. That sexy gray hair around their temples and wrinkles around sparkling eyes. Think George Clooney. Yet woman are thought to be just old and somewhat unattractive as they age. Young women are held up as the ideal. As parents we can teach our daughters and sons that is untrue. Beauty comes from within. Lines add character and show a life lived. Gray hair is natural. I taught my son as a teenager its not how you look its who you are. But its hard to remember that as a middle aged woman!

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  18. Oh I get you 100%! I fell like this happened to me ever since I got pregnant...after giving birth I just felt so much older...when I look in the mirror it doesn't look like me....I now have to color my hair every 3 weeks....can't get away with just once a month because those grays are there.....but like you say when you are older you will look at this photo and say..wao I looked so beautiful and young! And I think the same way about my daughter being brave when she gets older and being a very strong and good example for her. Loved the realness of this post! As, like you, its something that I'm struggling with a lot lately.

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  19. I am so glad I came across your blog months ago. At first it was for home design tips. Then I started pinning just as many fashion tips as decorating tips. With each heartfelt entry, I've learned that you are also a stay at home mom with two young ones, and have toddler food allergies in your household as well. And now this. Thank you for your REAL entry! Just this weekend a friend took portrait pictures of our family and I was stunned, literally stunned, to see the age and "wear" on my face. I was so taken by the beauty of my son and daughter's adorable expressions, yet spent so much energy talking about how I wanted him to immediately photoshop my face. And now I have the edited version, which does not reflect the face that my kids know and love. Or that my husband knows and loves. At this time, I am still leaning toward framing the edited version . . . but this post really has me thinking.

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  20. Oh Girl. I know I know I know. Aging. It happens to everyone and you can't escape it. Sure you can have surgery and photoshop and what not, but really it hits everyone. And it's beautiful. And I never even noticed the wrinkles in that first picture. Isn't that funny?

    Great post.

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  21. I know you're not asking for it. But you truly do look beautiful to me, not just because you are a mother. There is something though, about a mother's love that makes it even more beautiful, and that's not just something I say to make someone feel better.

    I'm very neurotic about aging, myself. In fact it was on my mind just now as I looked at a photo of myself. My bags and premature lines are from an illness I've been living with for quite a while now.

    So, I get that feeling you are going through while all the time trying to temper it with embracing reality instead of some version we make of ourselves because that is what our fake culture has taught us.

    And I see nothing wrong with editing your photos for your blog, but when you do something like you did today, you didn't just do a kind thing for your daughter you did it for those people like me, that feel something is wrong with them because they look older than other people do at their age.

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  22. Awww Julia. There is so much to be thankful for in your life. Like that amazing nursery makeover you just won. Don't focus on the negative. Everyone deals with aging! :)

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  23. Ok, I get it! I'm 39 this year...sigh...not going to lie, 35 is when the shit hits the fan. I eat less and less each day to stay thin--it's so much harder. And my face, my goodness, my face! I feel like I'm turning into a reptile. The thing is, though...you become more at peace with yourself as you get older. I don't know if that's even the right way to put it, it's just that you no longer truly care if you're the hottest girl in the room anymore. That's not to say I don't care about fashion and my hair and my skin, it's just you realize there is always going to be someone younger & prettier than you, and you have no choice but to accept it. Us mere mortals are no Gwyneth Paltrow, or hell, even Jane Fonda. She looks freaking amazing and she's in her 70s. But unless you have a bottomless bank account & no fear of plastic surgery, well, it is what it is. Hang in there, it's ok to be mortified by aging. Damn those men that look more fantastic with each gray hair!!!

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  24. Oh Lordy. I'm doing the exact same thing to myself lately. It sucks. Here's one that I'm struggling with. I want to get a nose job to fix my deviated septum, but mostly to straighten it. I've always hated my crooked nose. But I worry that if Izzy sees that I've changed something about myself, she will start to hate that same thing about herself. I never want her to feel that way, so it looks like I'll be rocking the ol crooked nose :)

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  25. Awesome post. I love that you keep it real because all of us have been there! I, too, have a picture with my son in which I am not wearing any make up and the lines around my eyes are all I see. But it's okay, because life is more fun than ever. I love my 30's!

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  26. It's a good thing they are so sweet, because littles sure do age a person quickly. I consider my wrinkles (when I admit that I have them) badges of honor. It looks a lot of work to get those suckers and I enjoyed every minute. :) You've got the right attitude mamma!

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  27. I am in my fifties.. :)

    Life is so precious. As we mature, women enter what I consider to be our female goddess time. This means we are truely happy in our hearts and are thankful that we have what is most important in life.

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  28. And it never stops....because that is one thing that just keeps happening no matter what:) Take it from me...I NEVER thought I would be 61...ever....ever.....and I fight the gray and wrinkles every day with highlights to mask the gray and botox to help with only a few wrinkles! But I love laugh lines because it means...yes...you have laughed!

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  29. Beautifully said. Thanks for being real.

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  30. we earn our smile lines! adorable pic-shows 2 souls in sync!

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  31. Thanks for sharing this. I just turned 35 and have felt lately that this officially make me not young! My sister and I had a conversation yesterday about wrinkle cream. Gosh! But on the other hand, I wouldn't trade all of these years for anything. Those wrinkles are hard-earned.

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  32. Love this so much! Best. Post. Ever.

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  33. I am so with you! I'm 32 and I know I'm not "old" just "teenage old" But heck, teens look like babies to me now! I usually comfort myself by saying, "they will grow old too."

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  34. I totally hear you on the aging. I'm 31 too and I think it's just starting to hit me that I'm not the 25 yr old I still see in my head. I think it's hard to come to grips with it. That picture is such a beautiful moment between you and Tagg- edited or unedited it's a framer for sure.

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  35. One of my favorite posts ever. That first picture is priceless. Frame that one as it truly captures the beauty.

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  36. I like the first picture so much better! You look happier and more expressive!

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  37. Thanks for keepin' it real! I, too, have been experiencing anxieties about aging in the last couple of months (I'm 31 as well), which I think were triggered when I recently had my second child. I feel like with my son I could still pull off the "young mother" bit, but now with two kids I just suddenly feel so much OLDER. It's hard to put into words (and perhaps all in my head!). Just know you aren't alone in suddenly feeling ambushed with the prospect of aging.

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  38. I'm 42, I totally getcha Julia. I thought I would be able to age gracefully but find myself fighting it every step of the way. Even when you are so very grateful for each and every day it's not easy to watch lines take up permanent residence on your face. You are so right, you will look back on that photo in years to come and think how YOUNG and beautiful you looked. Unedited and natural, it is truly so lovely!!!!!

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  39. I think you are prettier with the lines, honestly, then in the touched up version. It is all relative-I am 44, when I look at pictures of me at 31 I look SO young. But I remember feeling the same as you. And that quote is so true. I lost a good friend-she was my age-we were 35 when she died-she had 3 little ones-completely unexpected. I think what she would give to be here-I know she wouldn't complain about lines and wrinkles and gray hair. What's that compared to seeing your kids grow, and graduate, and attending their weddings, and seeing them become parents? I tell that myself when the wrinkles and gray hair keep showing up more and more every year.
    Beautiful post and beautiful photo.

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  40. Love that last quote and the UN-edited picture!

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