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What I Saw When My Kid Looked in a Mirror

On a recent day off from school, my daughter and I headed downtown to our local museum of history and science. It's a favorite spot of hers, and we had not been in some time.

Afterwards, we walked to a spot I wanted to check out for photography. I had seen some images taken there and wanted to both see it in person and capture a few images.

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My daughter has a serious case of what I call Photographer's Child Syndrome. She is often wary of my camera. But at times, she is all game. And this particular day turned out to be one of those.

We had a blast capturing a variety of images in front of a beautiful, vibrant mosaic wall underneath a bridge that spans the river in our downtown area.

One image really got me thinking as I looked at it on my computer screen:

When I look at this picture, I love the sense of wonder my daughter takes in at her reflection. As adults, we lose that. We tend to avoid mirrors or criticize our flaws whenever we see our reflection.

Especially women, I think.

Children don't do that. They are mesmerized by watching themselves becoming.

What struck me when I looked at this image, her face, her expression, is that, even at 47, I am still becoming. The process of becoming never actually stops. Or at least, it shouldn't. I have the power to not let it.

I have become many things over the years. Career woman. Wife. Mother. Stay-at-home mom. Freelance writer. Photographer. Business owner.

Reaching midlife, my expectation was the process of "becoming" would slow, if not stop entirely. After all, I'm an adult. I'm done growing. I am who I am.

I could not have been more wrong.

As I look at the mosaic, I am struck by how there is no straight path. That is how my life has been. Continues to be. There is no clear and defined line from Point A to Point B. We think there is. We believe we can control it. We think there's just the one, inevitable way.

But it is often the unexpected detour that can turn out to be the most rewarding. And I am embracing that more and more. Why? Because doing so has led to opportunities and fulfillment I never ever considered possible. Having goals and charting ways to reach them is important. So is being open to the unexpected. The unplanned. The unknown.

One of the things I am becoming, whether I like it or not, is older. I have zero control over the process, but I can manage how I respond to it.

My life is not much like I expected it to be when I was looking in the mirror at my daughter's age. Of course, at 7, I understood very little about real life. Now, 40 years later, I aspire to look in the mirror with the same sense of wonder she displays. I want to ask the questions, "Who am I becoming? What can I be today, tomorrow, the next day? Years from now?"

One of the things I am becoming, whether I like it or not, is older. I have zero control over the process, but I can manage how I respond to it. The way I allow it to make me feel.

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Aging is something so many of us fear, loathe, resent. But it doesn't have to be that way. I am trying to change my view. There are many stages of life, and each has its rewards.

I am still becoming, and that excites me. I am grateful to my child, and a mirrored mosaic wall, for helping me see.

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