and at the end of the day, you are older. you gaze into the unforgiving mirror and inspect your reflection. how time had been cruel to you, you must have thought. years have gone by so quickly, almost in an instant and you wonder what have you done to behold the image you see right now.
your skin had lost its luster. it hangs loosely upon once firm muscle and tough bone. it bears now the texture of dry parchment, a far cry from the suppleness that even the spring peach would envy. you observe your curves. you frown upon how unsightly they have become, how years of neglect have made them unshapely and grossly unflattering. you criticize your shoulders, how you find them weak and low. you complain of your wide hips and how difficult it is to now find clothes to wear. you lament over your legs, how you feel so conscious of others because of their paleness. you cringe at your aging profile and ask yourself how else can this be beautiful. you must have sighed with the thought and consoled yourself for, indeed, beauty is but a dream and dreaming is only for the foolish. on your last moments of this harsh inspection, your attention falls upon your face. you question it, every part of it. it's deep-set eyes, its narrow nose, its loose cheeks, its wrinkled lips, its grey hair. you must have felt saddened by the vision for all you could come to see was that of a person, old, and slowly wasting away.
life, can be truly brutal. but then, allow me to offer you a momentary gift and lend you my imperfect eyes. forgive me if they be defective but trust that youth still renders them useful and valid. allow me you show you what i see when i look into the same unforgiving mirror and behold the same honest reflection.
to what your eyes may deem as an aging vessel, i see a ripening fruit, its hard shell finally beginning to relinquish its tight hold on the greatness lying within. it seeps through this weakened prison and sits waiting in fissures and crevasses, gathering, adorning you with a crown only the seeking can see. you glow with a tremendous light that casts no shadow. you shine with a spectacular intensity that never wanes nor burns.
you mock at the signs of wear this body now exhibits but know that like forged iron, it is these marks that signify undeniable strength rather than inherent weakness. your low shoulders can attest to the burdens you have carried throughout your honorable existence. indeed, the load you bore is enough to incapacitate a healthy man and yet you remained unbowed, and yet you remained steadfast. your wide hips were the home your sons have called as they waited for their time to share in your world. there they laid patiently for you while you also waited patiently for them, nursing them, nurturing them even before they saw the light of day. and though worldly garments may not drape you as well as how other less figured women do, know that the glory you wear is something no cloth could enhance nor couturier can ever replicate. and as your legs tire and show evidence of fatigue for all the miles you have walked, all the steps you have climbed, all the places you have been, i am sure they, your legs, bear you with greatest pride for no one could have walked the path you have tread, nor climbed over the heaps you have overcome, nor traversed the expanse you have traveled. for this, your legs would venture you to the moon and back, if that was what your good heart desired.
you finally rest my eyes on your face again, your heart bracing for what you expect to see. alas, time has had its way with it, like how it is fair to everything finite. but yet as you study each line that graces your skin, as you view the pallor of your cheeks, as you pine over the puffiness of your eyes, the narrowness of your nose, the thinness of your lips, know that to these, my mortal eyes, you are the most beautiful. and though you may laugh at this and choose still to believe what you choose to see, know that despite their flaw, my eyes can out perform even the most perfect pair. for my eyes not only gazes, sad to say, with a set of shiny orbs that take in light, it sees as well with a heart, smitten by the image of the one woman who owned it from the moment of its creation. this image is loyal and preserved, impervious to time, locked in to my life. and this image is still what i behold and will behold, year after year, renewed, refreshed, like the love i have for you.
happy birthday mom. if you could only see what i can see.