A new wrinkle today. Under my eye on the right hand side. Like a crease line from sleep which, when awake at 6.45, should have long settled down by noon. Here to stay then, and welcome not, to a face looking gradually older with each passing day.
In hospital - in the weeks and days before she died - Gran squeezed the hand of visitors who brightened her afternoon. I noticed then her hands - almost 91 - had the skin of a woman much younger in years. My own, dry from washing and neglected from lack of time, please me not, so a mental note then, to take more care.
Longer, with each passing year, to shrug the signs of wear. A blemish from a spot is slower to fade and scars take longer to heal. I look at my children - perfect in new skin - and see that I'm no longer the focus of the shot. A frame now - to hold and support and present these early days as best I can.
I accept the role. I admire my girl, I am proud of my son, I'll rub cream in my hands when I can. As the lines multiply around the eyes, I shall pick another mirror - in softer light - to apply more makeup and brush my hair. My husband ages just as me - in laughing photos from before our marriage, we remark that we look so young.
Yet a happier place to be. Stretched and blemished and perfect not. Loved and strong with a place in the world. I should not turn back the clock. My daughter grins a toothy smile, chubby cheeks and the brightest eyes. My darling girl. I'll trade my years of youth to smile upon you. Spring eternal in the face of a child. Welcome compensation for the compulsory price of age... x