I've always looked quite young for my age, which in all honestly has mostly been a hindrance. Yes, it's had its good moments, such as being able to get on a bus and pay for a 'half' instead of full fare. But for the majority of the time it's been nothing but a pain in the ass.
Having to take my passport everywhere when there's a chance I may purchase alcohol, listening to people patronisingly say "REALLY?" when I tell them my age, and having to accept that in work related situations I sometimes don't get taken seriously or with the same amount of respect as someone who actually looks 31 instead of 12.
A couple of years back an elderly woman actually confronted me on the bus and asked me why I wasn't at school! And I've been known before now to be ID'd for the lottery.
Over the past year however, this has all changed. Now, when I purchase alcohol from the supermarket, they don't even study my face, they just scan it right through and wait for me to pay. People don't seem as shocked these days when I tell them my age, as they did in the past.
And although looking younger has always annoyed me, now I'm asking myself why I had such a problem with it. In fact, I'm quite hurt when I don't get asked for ID now. How dare they? I feel like saying "look at me! Come on look! I'm clearly under age! Ask me for some identification!"
Surely I can't have aged that much in the past couple of years?
But now, when I look in the mirror I notice that a few wrinkles have started to appear. Round my eyes, and between my eyebrows. I can see my youth vanishing before my very eyes. And I wonder where them wrinkles came from.
And then it occurs to me. I have a child.
4 years of parenthood has aged me.
4 years of 6am wake up calls, sleepless nights, doctors apointments and hospital visits from falls and croup. 4 years of worries from leaving a crying baby with a childcare provider, and working full time to provide only the best.
Thinking about it, I can pretty much pinpoint where each wrinkle on my face has come from.
The three lines that have appeared between my eyebrows are from the time I had to rush home from work to a worried Daddy who had turned his back for one minute and was now rushing our 2 year old up to A&E with a lump the size of a golf ball on his forehead. And the time I stood there frowning as my son threw himself on the floor in the middle of Home Bargains and screamed for some irrational reason. And let's not forget the time on the bus when Oliver was potty training, pooed in a potty in between my legs, and we had to ask the bus driver to stop so we could dispose of the pottys contents.
But the lines round my eyes are different. They are creases brought on by laughter. There are too many to count. But I could guess that a few of them belong to first words, first steps, lazy days in bed watching Disney Movies, and funny things that are said, that sound so adorable when they come from the mouth of your toddler. They are from Christmas Days, firework displays, days at the park, and birthdays. They are from love, happiness and joy.
And suddenly those wrinkles don't seem so bad.
They are a map of memories. Each has it's own story, even If I can't fully remember the details.
And with each new memory, more will come. And I'll try and see the beauty in them.