I try to clean weekly. That’s a lie. It’s closer to bi-weekly and by that I mean if I get around to it once a month. There once was a time I was very good about deep cleaning. Looking back, it was when I had nothing else on my plate. Now I do well to survive the day and get up to repeat.
The thing is, regardless of when this necessary chore occurs, I hate cleaning mirrors. That’s one thing that intentionally gets skipped almost every time. We put a full-length mirror in the princess room, because a princess needs to play dress up. It gets wiped often due to little handprints everywhere. I just spray, wipe, move on. It will be dirty again by sunset anyway. I know there’s a reflection there as I clean, but I never look beyond the surface.
A few weeks ago as I was doing my spray and wipe dance, I accidentally looked deeper. You know those magic eye pictures that require your eyes to focus a certain way to see an image? It was like that. I actually looked, and I really saw myself.
I’d love to say it was a positive experience. It wasn’t, at first. I struggled to find myself in that image. Things have changed since I actually looked inside the reflection. Life happened. Happiness happened. Stress and sadness happened. Sleepless nights and silly fights happened. Hard work and mom duties happened and it was all right there staring back at me through streaks of Windex.
I had a choice. I could feel sad about this realization. After all, my youthful appearance had been replaced by this strange, new person looking back at me. I could feel joy instead, knowing I’ve lived and experienced. Experienced every possible emotion. Experienced holding my babies all night, carrying more weight than I should have, learning things the hard way, loving so hard I cried, praying until my knees hurt, worrying over things that always worked out, laughing until my sides screamed and living through everything between.
Those days make up who I am. While my outward self changed, so did my inside and I’m choosing to be happy and proud of her. Of me.
Later that week, we went shopping at a local craft store. As we were loading up to leave, my mom offered to take my daughter to use the bathroom while the rest of us went out. A few minutes later, I looked up to see them walking toward the van. It was another magic eye moment. I could see beyond the surface.
I’m always right next to my children. I’m the one holding their hands. I mostly view them from the top of their head. I was able to see this beautiful little girl from another perspective. She was skipping and smiling into the sun and just witnessing the innocence of her joy set off this electric charge through me. It was like seeing my child through different, clearer eyes. It was beautiful.
Staying home and being in charge of other little humans is taxing. There’s never a second to turn off. Playing outside is a way to let my guard down, just a bit. Since I have been looking deeper, not just skimming the surface, I recently watched my son run and play. Really watched. A huge smile on his face, his legs longer than I remember and still so fast. He has the look of a young boy now and there was so much joy as the wind blew through his hair. I soaked up that image. It was beautiful.
My husband is typically the bedtime book reader. We all pile up in our bed and he reads a few books. It’s usually the first time I’ve sat down all day. I tend to stay back and let them have this special time. Now I see it. I see his silly voices and the giggles that soon follow. I see the sleepy eyes studying the pictures. I see a vision of a time I know will so quickly exit our routine, just as many others have. I cherish it. It is beautiful.
I think it’s easy to live in the routine and struggles of each day. To have the quick spray and wipe without really seeing mindset. We can’t live fully by just being a surface looker. Sometimes we need those gentle reminders to stop and stare harder, look deeper, and focus longer on the beauty that’s right in front of us.
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