I have a beautiful daughter. As I’ve shared scrapbook layouts of her, I’ve had strangers comments on how lovely she is. She is that age where youth and enthusiasm and health come together to create a woman designed to attract a mate. She is lovely.

I just hit 50 years old and while I’m trying not to let that number bother me, I don’t see beauty when I look in the mirror anymore. My husband says I’m beautiful; the Boy is always calling me his “beautiful Momy,” but I don’t see it anymore.

This post kinda got to me this morning.

If I try to look at things through wiser eyes than mine are generally, I can see a woman who has lived a good, fairly full life (not that it’s over, mind you!) and the marks of that life are visible.

I have scars from an emergency C-section to deliver the above mentioned beautiful woman 19 years ago, and 9 weeks before her due date.

I have scars on my right shoulder from a month of hemo-dialysis and a scar on my right side from a kidney transplant.

Those abdominal surgeries have left stomach muscles that are weak and probably will never be flat again, even if I do lose the weight I want to lose. They sag a bit.

My hair is gray if I don’t color it. I have, increasingly, wrinkles that echo my mother’s and droopy eyelids that are clearly my dad’s.

Yet through all this, I usually feel young inside. I’m learning more about writing, graphic design, and life every day. I have a 6-year-old son who is a challenge to raise but a joy to be with, a real gift from God.

I have a husband who adores me and dare I say it? Still wants me, physically, all the time.

Am I 100% comfortable in my skin? I don’t know. I like me. I like the woman I am, most of the time. I have good friends, a wonderful family, people who look to me for advice and sometimes leadership, and I laugh pretty much every day, and I bring out laughter in others.

By our society’s standards, I may not be beautiful like Madonna (who is 6 months older than I am, so what’s up with that??? Lend credence to my “sold her soul to the devil” theory) or the super-model-flavor-of-the-week, but do I need their approval?

I see my writer friends, many of whom are older than I am, and I honestly believe every one of them is a beautiful woman. Do they see me the same way?

I need to stop being so hard on that woman in the mirror. She has a lot of very nice qualities that she needs to celebrate more often.