Friday, January 28, 2011


I am happy that my last post made so many of you laugh. Thank you for your comments. I have two more "looking glass" stories to add.

My coworker told me a story about her mother who lived to be 89, had all of her faculties and was active. They lived in a rural area and her mother seldom shopped for clothing. This happened awhile ago. It had been a long time since she had bought a new winter coat, so at age 85 she went to town. She selected a coat, and entered a dressing room to see how it fit. When she turned around she was astonished. "There's my MOTHER over there!" She pointed, then demurely tucked her pointer finger and all the rest into the pocket when she realized she was seeing herself in one of those new-fangled three way mirrors.

Jack and Henry identical twins, were former students. They had never been apart for the first three years of their lives. Mother took one of them to the department store with her. Jack took off running, arms extended, yelling, "Henry!-Henry!" when he caught a glimpse of himself in a full length mirror.

Some of you may have read this before, but it is a "LOOK" back at my life.

Published in Sasee Magazine May 2010

Reflections of Me
by Linda O’Connell

Through my teen years, I had no idea who that plain girl was looking back at me in my hand-held mirror. She had occasional blemishes, straight hair so thick a clamp couldn’t hold it, and about an ounce and a half of self-confidence.

Throughout my twenties, the gal in my oval dresser mirror wore sensible clothes, an artificial smile and a stern mommy look when necessary. My sense of self was completely defined by my roles as wife, mother and preschool teacher. I needed to be needed.

During my thirties, every time I glanced in my car’s rearview mirror I saw a woman merging into her own. I no longer wanted to be needed; I wanted to be wanted. I became more daring in my manner of dress. My self-esteem over-flowed like my hormones, and I was driven, on a quest of self-discovery.

At forty, my self-esteem was as on fire as the flaming birthday candles that lapped at my youth. I gazed into my full-length mirror. I tilted it this way and that and examined myself from all angles. I liked what I saw. My confidence was emerging. I knew for certain what I did not want, but I was unsure of what I really wanted. It was a time of introspection, of self-discovery. I travelled to the ocean in my fortieth year. On the rippled waters and pleated sand, I saw a reflection of the woman I had become. I learned how to say no, and yes, and to trust. I learned to ride the waves of everyday trials and tribulations and wait for the waters to calm.

At fifty, I hung a decorative mirror with etched oval frames in my living room and displayed photos of my grandchildren. As I passed that mirror, I saw my own features reflected in their faces, my joy and enthusiasm reflected in their souls. Every once in a while I glanced directly at myself, still a work in progress.

Sixty years of living, and as many brands of face cream purchased over the years, have made me realize that the wrinkles on my face are proof positive that I have lived a full life. I have come to love the skin I’m in. There’s a woman who knows me very well these days. When I greet her in my bathroom mirror, I see a twinkle in her heavy-lidded eyes. I wink at my reflection and remember how my life began at forty. I remarried. I became a grandma. During that decade I released my children’s hands, clung to their newborn babies’ hands and grasped my soul mate’s hand. I evolved. I took ownership of my feelings and vigorously declared my intentions.

As I reflect on my life, I realize that the phases I went through helped me to evolve into the woman I have become, the woman I can look in the eye, whom I respect and admire. I have learned a lot about myself and life in general. As much as I need and want my husband and family to be forever in my life, I know that letting go is as important as hanging on. We must let go of the negative self-speak, the pains of the past and eventually the loves of our lives. I resolve from this day forward to make every day count, for it is not the future or the past that matters, but the moment.

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Pat Wahler said...

Well said, Linda!


Cathy C. Hall said...

Catching up on all things Linda this morning and laughing, as usual. My mother is always doing the mirror thing...but what really makes me laugh is her instant replay shenanigans. She'll look up from the paper and exclaim, "WHAT? Chipper hit ANOTHER home run!!!"

So I signed on as a follower. Sometimes, I think Blogger eats followers, 'cause I KNOW I followed you ages ago. But I didn't see my smiling face, so I signed again.

P.S. Try to stay warm.

Terri Tiffany said...

Great story-- as I read it I kept thinking how well you write! I knew you did but it is fun to read something like this too:)

Beth M. Wood said...

Love, love, love this Linda. Brought tears to my eyes as I read your thirties and fourties and thought...yes, yes, yes! Exactly how I feel. I approach 40 with excitement, anticipation, nervousness, and a newfound sense of calm.
love ya,

Tammy said...

Thanks for the reminder that aging has its beauty, too!

Susan said...

Oh Linda. That was a good post. Each day truly is a gift. Hope you have a great night. I don't worry too much about growing old. I know our Father, God, will be there when no one else is. Take care, Linda. Susan

Karen Lange said...

Makes you think, that's for sure...and that's a good thing when done with a positive attitude. Glad you shared this. :)
Happy weekend,

Anonymous said...


Wow! How moving. Can it be reprinted? If so, I'd like to use in March for my "Roar Series for Women" @ my blog. Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer Brown Banks