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An older new

She catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror when rushing to the next cry, tantrum, or thing to do.

And she sees someone so new.

She’s hardly recognisable.

Her hair lumped on the top of her head, but crooked. It’s always crooked.

Wearing something oversized and comfortable she’s been in since yesterday. If she’s lucky. Perhaps since last week.

Dark shadows of last night beneath her eyes. They never leave. Not right now.

And it’s an older type of new.

Because she feels so old these days. So worn. So tired.

Because this is her reality.

She IS older, and she IS tired.

She wears the tired, so she IS worn.

This all comes with the territory.

A territory she’s never seen before.

It’s all so unfamiliar.

And, at times, so confronting.

So she leaves her reflection for another day,

Not wanting to get to know her too well.

Her being needed the perfect excuse to part ways with the older new.

But she can’t part ways.

Not for long anyway.

Because that’s not where it ends.

Underneath the baggy clothes there’s more of the new.

She catches a glimpse as she gets out of the shower mid-wash, to tend to the noise or the little hand making its way through the widening gap in the always ajar bathroom door.

Lashings of life remain across her stomach and thighs.

Dimples of softness all over the edges of her skin.

The weight of her world now hanging from every part of her.

And they are all further reminders of this new body and identity she finds herself learning.

She so often wraps herself in a towel,

Wanting to forget how aged she now feels.

Forgetting to honour the beauty in her now.

Everything her older her has given her, forgotten temporarily.

And instead, she tends to the needs of her children,

As she always does.

She is what they see every day.

She is their mirror.

And she is the first to tell them how perfect they are to her.

How strong they look.

How capable they are.

How much they have grown in such a small space of time.

And she always says it with a smile of such pride.

Because she’s so proud of everything they are.

And they smile back, because they mirror her.

They mirror everything about her.

And they believe her, because she believes it herself.

They believe in her too.

And this is so often forgotten.

When she’s staring at her own reflection, the older version of her new.

When she’s merely taking a glimpse, unhealthy words sometimes spoken to herself in the moments of unfair comparisons and lost perspective.

But a glimpse isn’t enough. Not even close.

She deserves to stare. Really stare.

She deserves to focus on the parts of herself she so often wants to run away from. Really focus.

Because that reflection is her new reality.

And that reality is a result of the passing of time, of love, of sacrifice.

And while she may not love it all the time, those who love her most love every part of it.

She needs to remind herself when caught gazing at her reflection, that this older new is worthy of love.

The older new is more than a number on a scale or a birthday card.

She is a new woman with so much to show for her journey.

A journey which is nothing short of incredible.

SHE is incredible.

She always has been.

But until she chooses to mirror what her children see in her, and what she so often sees in them,

She won’t even get a glimpse at just how incredible she is.

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