The Wild, Incredible Gift of Growing Old



I turn thirty this month. I feel much older inside; frayed and chipped and sagging.

I don’t mind so much what the outside looks like anymore. My insides are what need nurturing.

I don’t mind because it’s a gift to have a body, present and whole on this earth. A body that is free to do what I want it to do (most of the time).

Since my three-year-old daughter passed away, I’ve come to realize how pathetic our obsession with looking good is.

We are always lacking something, it seems.
Straight teeth. Nice hair. Wrinkle-less skin. Perk. Oomph.
We are so hard on ourselves.

And it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t.

I held my daughter and wailed into the folds of her neck as she passed into eternity. I held her perfect body, that will never grow into womanhood. Everything about her was divine. I know she wouldn’t care if she grew up with crooked teeth or imperfect skin. She would have been thrilled to just grow up.

A few weeks after she died, we went to Hawaii. I wore a bikini the whole time.

I wanted to show off my belly. A belly that stretched to carry two nine-pound babies. At first I was scared. What will people think when they see me? A sense of shame crept in. They will see one child, and my two-child belly, and probably shake their heads. Poor gal.

I panicked. They will think I only have one baby! And I look like this! I heard myself saying these words to my husband. And I recoiled.

My daughter just died and I’m worried about what others will think?

So, I wore the bikini proudly. I got a tan and watched the stretch marks fade. I saw my soft skin and the scars from my spinal surgery, now white and gently wrinkled and I was content. This is what I look like.

This is my body.

A body that carried two children with a fused spine. A body that held one child until she took her last breath and now holds a thriving one-year-old. This body is strong. This body may feel broken at times, but it is perfect because I say so.

We have the ability to accept ourselves. We have the ability to shrug our shoulders and say, “Hey, World, I’m beautiful because I think so. This is what my body looks like, and oh, what a joy it is to live in it.”

It is a gift to age. It is a wild, incredible gift to get wrinkles and watch our bodies slowly soften and gray. Never take it for granted. Embrace the changes. Welcome them lustily, with grace and acceptance.

Michaela Evanow
I’m a wife and semi-crunchy mama of a girl and boy. After doulaing in Vancouver, I became a medical mama when my daughter, Florence Marigold, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy—a muscle wasting disease. I have a nomadic heart, though I haven't left our home in years. I adore Eastern Europe, India, thrifting, coffee with cream + honey and global maternal healthcare. I write about the messy, salty glory of mothering a terminally ill child and finding the goodness of God in grief at
Michaela Evanow
Michaela Evanow

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