Passing By A Window

Have you ever had one of those moments when you pass by a window and catch a glimpse of your reflection without recognizing yourself – albeit briefly? Please nod your head affirmatively, or I’m going to seriously wonder if my crazy level just escalated.

Is there any greater dissonance than not recognizing who you are? Who you have become? Accepting that none of us perceive ourselves as we are perceived by others, at least our self-perception should align with what we see. And I have to admit, that there are moments when they just don’t line up.

When my head insists that I can rock an outfit which a) I clearly can’t and b) is arguably no longer in style; when I sit in meetings where people moan about millenials and I wonder why they’ve skipped two generations in the dialogue (including my own – hello???); when I dance around my house (full disclosure – only the dogs witness this activity) and find myself hoping the next song is a slow one.

The moments when I realize that my children are now men. Awesome men. No longer in need of that overpowering, all encompassing love that arrived in utero. In my head I am still able to carry them on my hips, pudgy fingers around my neck, little boy sweat and kisses that smacked. And always sensing that if I hold on too hard they will have to wrest themselves from me painfully. I tried to keep my grasp loose-ish. Do they even have these reflections in their mirrors? Perhaps somewhere. Certainly not something they consider when defining themselves at this point in their lives. Nor should they. It isn’t time.

Am I the woman in the little black dress meeting Andy for the first time 23 years ago this week? That curiosity and humor and hint of possibility filling the Georgetown harbor with something unrecognizable yet familiar? I could probably fit into the dress (there was some lycra involved I’m sure), but would I recognize the woman? Sometimes, perhaps…when we dance in the kitchen to a song of Andy’s creation (don’t ask).

So many passages that define this reflection, so many exhilarating moments and sad lessons, an awful lot of pain and kindnesses of indescribable magnitude. To look in the mirror and see that I’m still evolving, the image isn’t static even though there’s something to be said for thinking one is frozen in time. The reflection is the reality – no longer eligible for the ingenue roles, juggling mom, menopausal manic, or driven senior executive. Now? Good question.

The reflection is still blurry, morphing into something gentler, arguably a little easier on the image staring back. Perhaps a little less intrepid and sensing something that haunts my thoughts in ways that are unfamiliar – the limits of time maybe?

The eyes though – the eyes I recognize – they crinkle from laughter, they well too easily, they look to the sky with such gratitude. Sometimes I don’t recognize the face in toto – I just recognize the heart. And sometimes that’s enough.
Photo on 5-25-14 at 5.33 PM

90 thoughts on “Passing By A Window

  1. i wrote a poem, years ago, about one such moment, seeing my reflection in a window, and suddenly having a clearer understanding of things. this is a lovely post, and the recognition of one’s heart is that of the highest and finest level.

      • I have to tell you that my wife found your post on Facebook today and was moved to tears by your words today as they touched her when you wrote about your boys. Another kindred spirit. I told her she has a worderful choice in you. Take care my friend.

      • Send your wife a hug from me – I’m beyond touched and way past flattered. Wish you both lived closer – between family (fur-kids included), music and so many parallel thoughts, I think we’d all be good friends.

  2. I eat up your words as if they are chocolate for the soul–so many times I see myself reflected in your writings and am glad that I am not the only one who feels the way you seem to. Mimi–you are adorable–inside and out!

    • Ah LouAnn – keep those glasses off!!! But more than anything, I appreciate how connected we can be in our thoughts, ensuring that we are not alone with these feelings.

  3. The passing moments of time, life, images. I, too, see myself in the mirror or in photographs and wonder who that woman is. I see myself with chubby little fingers gripping my neck. We know who we were but we don’t yet know who we are becoming. And we are always becoming. Change is a wondrous and complicated part of existence. Especially as it, and we, address aging. Love this post, the insight, the willingness to express this phenomenon, telling the truth, and searching. One of the reasons I enjoy your blog. When are you coming to NY? Seriously, must meet over coffee!

  4. No one paints with words better than you do. Your poignant reflection – no pun intended- when you see yourself in the mirror rings so true. The vibrant colors from paintbrush to canvas; another masterpiece. To know the person inside (and that charismatic beauty in the black dress is there amongst the other pieces of the quilt that makes up your life thus far) and recognize the painting nor the quilt are complete as you continue to evolve and grow. This year appears to be the one where we can no longer deny we have gotten older. It’s not coincidence that we all are wearing bangs now. I spend some days looking at moisturizers and eye creams that dare claim they’ll take 10 years off my life. Then I think, “hey I earned those 10 years”! Nonetheless, the eye creams seem to be winning because the face in the mirror is one I’m still getting used to. The heart, however, is growing bigger as I learn to let go and if that’s the gift of getting older, I’ll embrace it as I blast the Beatles “Well, she was just 17,you know what I mean…” and remember. For now, getting used to my current journey is enough. And, it remains remarkable, keeps the memories warm and time “frozen” that when I think of you I first see the 11 year old, then I fast forward to the woman you are, today, and, both, visions make me smile. But regardless the age, your heart, your strength, your charisma and your beauty travel with you and those that get to ride on the Karma Truck with you would probably all agree how lucky we are.
    Happy 23rd to you and Andy ( I know I’m early )! <3

    • Ah Jo…I have your 11 year old self etched in my memory too – and I still see her when I see you laugh. In the great big scheme of things, this too is another rite of passage I think – and none of us has learned how to do that with complete grace. So we buy those creams and pat ourselves on the back for those wrinkles simultaneously. I love that your on this journey with me..And thank you for the good wishes – but it was 23 years ago that we met…22 in August that we’ve been married (which I find impossible to grasp too – where’d all that time go???) <3

  5. I recognize and know that face. We’re all on that merry-go-round. Sometimes we look through opaque glass and can’t appreciate what we’re seeing. Sometimes the glass is rose colored and our egos need that on occasion. When the glass is crystal clear though, and one can see the past, appreciate the present and look forward to the future we are truly fortunate. Today my glass is perfectly clear, and I love that girl in the little black dress who albeit 23 years older, is more beautiful then ever. She has a heart and a soul that I want to spend the rest of my life with. She’s my delicate and ageless rose.

  6. Oh so true! I do have a funny story about reflections. My husband and I were sitting on benches somewhere waiting for something. I said to him, “Look at those 2 old people over there.” He said, “That’s us! Didn’t you see the mirrored wall?” This is a true story. Most of the time, I am more observant than he is but perhaps I didn’t want that to be us.

  7. As always, your words so beautifully captured what many of us are feeling. I am often surprised (and a bit shocked) when I unexpectedly catch a glimpse of myself in some random reflection. So different from the image I see when I purposefully look at myself in a mirror, my face arranged as I want it to be. I am learning to be kinder to myself, though. I’m not 30 anymore, but I think I like this newest version of myself better, wrinkles and all.

    • And I think that’s the best place to be – liking who we are now, where we are and how we look. Ok…the last one may be a little bit of a stretch when compared to my younger self – but for sure it isn’t going to get better than it is now, right? :-)

  8. “…sensing something that haunts my thoughts in ways that are unfamiliar – the limits of time maybe?” For me, yes, and that has been a bit difficult…to recognize that this is my time to be exactly here, no longer so carefree with a seemingly limitless amount of time left. Moments are more precious now…even though, sheesh, with my luck I’ll live to be over 100 and then I’ll be thinking, “This is taking waaaayyyy too long, is it over yet?” Anyway, very nice post Mimi, as always. :-)

    • My plan is to go on for a very very long time – despite what genetics and other less positive facts may tell me. And yes, it is tough – to realize that this isn’t a limitless ride, and that due is to be present in these moments..I’m with you all the way..

  9. It’s that moment when I catch not just my reflection by surprise, but wonder how it is that my mother is staring back at me. Or better, when I catch a glimpse of my grandmother. No one would ever say I look like her except when I catch a certain expression just so. We look in the mirror at the culmination of not just our lives, but so many others tangled up as well. Life is so good!

    • Life IS good Jill…though I look in the mirror and see my dad (for I look like him) ..and those glimpses both shock and surprise and unnerve a little. But the tangle of history within us is pretty fantastic..

  10. Oh honey, I don’t know what made me cry harder…this beautiful, insightful post or Andy’s sweet, sweet response. In my eyes, you *define* beauty and grace. Your eyes convey a warmth that is beyond description, your smile lights up the room, and your heart, ahh, your heart honey. It’s as big as all outdoors.

    I, too, am peering over the precipice of a big birthday and it’s giving me pause in a way that no others have. I’m suddenly cognizant of the years, both those that have passed and (God willing) those that lie ahead. We must treasure every moment (admittedly easier said than done) and hold those we love close.

    Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.” I think he was onto something… :-) All there is, sweet friend. xoxox, l

    • I told Andy he got me with that one – now he’ll feel ‘off the hook’ for a while, huh? ;-)
      I love that quote honey – it is perfect, it is the right goal. And as you look over that precipice, realize that there are many who love you deeply ready to catch you. You are all that exemplifies grace and love and generosity of a gorgeous spirit. xoxo

  11. I am so fascinated by this topic and my writing is often on the theme of the passage of time and how we perceive ourselves and our world. Thanks for sharing your unique perspective.

  12. There is nothing more beautiful than a truthful heart. Great post Mimi! I started to walk past the mirror and ask “who is that?” Now I walk by and say “Hey super star how you doing today?” just for fun.

  13. whoa–that goes deep. I hear you, yet am so entrenched in that crazy mommying phase that I rarely take time to reflect. I do look at old pictures, though, and wonder if I knew then what I know now, would I have still chosen the same man, career, etc. And the final answer (because the reply isn’t always instant, haha) is resoundingly yes, of course.

    Wish I had known you back in the day, Mimi. You are an amazing human being. Thank you for sharing so much yourself.

    • I think it’s impossible to pause like this when in the middle of raising one’s kids. It always surprises (and delights) me when something I post, hits some piece of themselves. That they can ‘nod’ and feel like there’s a lot of us out there arguably feeling quite similar…I’m the grateful one – for you.

  14. So eloquently put. From my humble perspective, you’re dazzling. While self pics may be frozen in moments; you’ve learned things that burnish the ‘real deal’ inside. Well done oh beautiful one. Dan

    • Ah Dan – thank you. The ‘real deal’ – to burnish it, care for it, remain humble by it and attune to it – I’m not there yet, but struggling to make sure I get there. As for dazzling? You make me smile – wide.

  15. Oh this could have been written by me, the me in my head is different to the me in the mirror, I will at times catch my reflection in a window and wonder who is that fat woman than I realise it is me and then I get all sad and annoyed with myself for becoming a fat woman

    • Joanne – don’t be angry, please. I think that I’ve reached a point where I may not wink at myself in the mirror and say ‘hello gorgeous’, but I at least say ‘hi’. The older I get the more I regret all the anger I have dumped on myself over the years. You’re a wonderful, loving woman – how awesome is that?

  16. So sweet and so true, Mimi. I was working on cleaning out the basement yesterday and came across some old journals from 15-25 years ago. Oh my, I barely recognized my handwriting, much less the girl who wrote those words. I could see myself at that time and now I truly appreciate the woman I’ve become. Many of the things I dreamed about have come true, others, I’m very glad they didn’t! And like you, the heart is still there – the face? Not so much!

    • Years ago I found some diaries I had kept – I can relate to the experience! The ridiculous things I wrote…my years of writing all in lower case…the melodrama. I’ve received far more than my adolescent wishes could have imagined and more pain too. But this heart? Yeah, I can recognize it anywhere..

    • Thanks Elizabeth – I hope so and I think so. Part of it seems to be in recognizing the depth of a moment when one isn’t defined by any external factors, if that makes any sense..

  17. Pingback: The Joker – Live & Learn

  18. I say yes, Mimi, of course. Who is that? Oh, yes, me, now, today.

    That’s great, because it took a lot of yesterdays to build ourselves of this instant, and squint just a tad, and they all dance in the mirror, too.

    And your picture at the bottom of this post, your today, is beautiful, in toto, my friend, a perfect match for your wise words.

    • You’re right Mark – it did take a lot of yesterdays to inform these faces of ours. Thank you – for liking the post and the picture (I’m not a pro with a camera as you well know)..

  19. ‘Gotta B day coming up, and…well…It is about figuring out who you are….that beauty is all from the inside out….but as women–beautiful women–watching the wrinkles come is hard. I have given up everything!! Even breathing, to preserve it all like marmalade…Lady marmalade. ;)

    Here’s something–I wonder how (older) men feel about it all. They are such visual creech-ahs.

    • Well Lady Marmalade – your picture suggests you’ve got it all well preserved. And I’ve got a big B coming up too – I can say that my husband had his a few months ago – and it hit him pretty hard too.

  20. Dear Mimi
    Wow! I have been reading your blog for over a year now. You are a very gifted writer. Today’s blog is so beautifully expressed & I am so blessed by your insights, compassion & humor! I have been tempted to comment several times but never have, but today I need to tell you what a blessing you are & how I look forward to reading your blogs! Thank you so very much for sharing your heart, soul, life lessons, joys & pain in such eloquent and honest writing.

    • Hi Peggy,
      Thank you so, so much – for reading my blog, enjoying the posts and taking the time to write such a wonderful, kind, generous message. I think that the feeling of fortune is reciprocal, for your comments fill me with such joy and gratitude. Thank you – I feel like I have found another friend.. :-)

  21. Amazing post, I have gone back to it a few times now, since reading it yesterday, trying to find the right way to express how much it means to me and I simply can’t. I like what everyone else has said, and echo their reactions and reflections, but you got me somehow in this one, where I just know, and feel it. You skate in that in between layer like no one else I know. Effortlessly it seems too. I stare at myself in the mirror as if I am a separate person and have little pep talks on occasion (ok, often) and have that sense of other – wondering how it is that she’s the same person!? Love you. Love this. Thank you.

    • Love you too BonBon…and delighted to think that I hit that ‘sweet spot’ that makes you nod in commiseration. And that beautiful face of yours? The compilation of all the pictures that marked the passages in your life and it is truly gorgeous. xo

  22. Beautiful words and insights into the movement of time and all that we have become! When I notice my reflection I see my mother and my grandmother .. and realize I represent all the women who have gone before me. They are me and I have become more than them. Now that’s pretty awesome!… Agreed, the lines and expanding mid section aren’t what I expected tho…lol!
    Thank you Mimi for a touching post:)

    • Thank you for stopping by Val and I couldn’t agree more – to see the reflection of the amazing women who have gone before you – and be able to discern the unique quality within that image that is you – is pretty damn awesome!! Let’s not discuss mid-sections and gravity – they pale in comparison to that which you see in the mirror…

  23. For me it was a video of myself that gave me pause for thought. In so many ways we tend to feel so young on the inside, which is not necessarily a bad thing…that the outer reality seems incongruent somehow. It comes as a bit of a shock. I have grown daughters and am now holding the babies of my babies. It’s a life stage that has it’s own particular joy and contentment, yet I still wonder how I got here so quickly.

    You write beautifully and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. I’d also like to say that when I saw your photo, I thought how timelessly pretty you are – which is undoubtedly connected to the loveliness of who you really are as a person.

    • Thank you so much for your lovely and gracious comments. I am becoming a grandma for the first time in February – and the idea of my babies having babies is a little surreal – absolutely begging the question of how we got here so soon!!

  24. I have to agree with all the ones who posted above. You write beautifully, you let your real you shine through and that is a most lovely person. I am so happy I have stumbled upon your blog and look forward to more of your posts!

  25. Love your post. You are a beautiful lady Mimi. Thanks so much for popping in and visiting my fb page now and again. It means more than you know. My face lights up to see you have been there. Have a wonderful weekend. hugs. <3 Renee

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