On Aging: A Poem for My Daughters

“You don’t look your age,” they say,
When I reveal that I’m forty-two.
But my body has begun to betray me.

Gray hair is just the beginning:
Reading glasses.
Body, back, and foot aches.
An elbow injury during pregnancy that refuses to heal.

I feel it on extreme weather days.
It balks at me when I lift my toddler or carry anything remotely heavy.
It reminds me that my body is not what it used to be.
That healing and wholeness are for the young.

Everything makes me tired.
My favorite part of the day:
My toddler’s nap time.
But that is on its way out.
I shudder to think how I will cope.

And now as I bow my head slightly
To read through the bottom of my newly-acquired bifocals,
I feel connected to the endless number of women who have been
Lucky enough to experience middle, and even old, age.

I hope this means that Wisdom is now my companion.
And that I’ll have the courage to
Grow old gracefully.
Showing my daughters, and myself,
That aging is a gift.

How I wish I could live long enough to cradle their tired faces and hold their
Aching hands as they ascend through middle age to their last day.
I would tell them they are as
Beautiful and valuable and cherished then
As they were on the day they were born.

Wendy

Wendy has had multiple lives, figuratively speaking, but she likes the one she's living now the most.

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11 Responses

  1. Heather says:

    Beautiful! You’ve captured so much of what I feel.

    • Wendy says:

      Thank you, Heather! So many conflicting feelings are wrapped up in parenthood, right? Moments after my oldest’s birth, when I was ovehelemed with acute joy, I was hit with a poignant feeling of grief knowing I wouldn’t be able to be there for her as she traverses death (as long as she lives an average lifespan, which I hope she does!).

  2. Catherine Jarvis. says:

    Wow. Thank you for writing a poem that grabbed me by the heart and perhaps caused a slight tear.

  3. April says:

    What a beautiful start to my day! I loved the deep self compassion and reverence for the gifts of age.

  4. Emily U says:

    I love this! Bookmarking to share with my book group at our poetry night in December.

  5. Wendy Liechty says:

    Love your poem Wendy! Beautiful! You are such an amazing mother, friend and wife. I always learn so much from your posts. Thank you for sharing your compassion, love, talents and friendship with us! Always feel blessed to know you.

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