I've begun noticing in earnest the lines around my eyes. Before, spotting them was a sign: of fatigue, of dehydration, of too many martinis, too much dancing. After a power nap, a Gatorade, they dissolved. Now they're permanent; part of the angles of my face. They out me as a 30-something. They, more than any other part of my body, remind me that time moves quickly. That time is running out. I have fallen in love with them.
In the mornings I take baby girl around the apartment to say hello to each room. Hello, kitchen. Hello, living room. Hello, office. Hello, daddy's books, and mommy's, and hello to g-mom, my baby's late great grandmother, her laughing face in a frame on a shelf. Our final stop is always the hallway mirror, where we say hello to the pretty baby and her mommy.
Looking in a mirror while I hold my baby is when I feel most like a parent, when it hits me that I have done this Thing that cannot be undone. I have built a person. We look back at ourselves and smile. The weight of her sits in the crook of my neck, in my elbow, while we make silly faces and nuzzle each other like horses, like puppies, her body still warm from sleep.
In that mirror where I stick my tongue out at my baby I spot those lines around my eyes and wait for that sinking feeling, the one where I feel bad about getting older, about not using enough eye cream, about being a feminist who cares whether I have lines.
Today that feeling didn't come. Instead, I smiled at my lines. Like my baby, they're mine. I built those, too.
On Instagram, later, I scrolled past a photo of a celebrity, an actress my age. She has those lines and she is radiant, with her white hair and red lips and floundering career. So what. She has lines, and so do I, and you probably do too, and lines means we're living. Lines mean we've laughed more often than not.