When your eyelids look like crepe paper, you have a problem.
When you find you can't wear makeup, and heaven forbid glitter makeup, because it settles and draws attention to your "creases," you're in trouble.
When you're considering installing a tiny roll out awning on your head to block the sun, prevent wincing, and shield your countenance from your critical fellow human beings, well...
I've foxtrotted with the idea of Botox. I've jumped and jived with it. But I couldn't ever do it (until they're offering it for free to random haggard-looking people). People who pay to get Botox have too much money, obviously, if they’re looking to spend it on something more than school supplies and braces. We less affluent mortals must bravely pretend that our wrinkles add distinction to an otherwise boring face.
I blame my proliferation of wrinkles on my kids. It's the sheer magnitude of looks I must give them on a daily basis just to keep them in line. If you're a mom or dad, maybe you're nodding so vigorously right now, you're about to knock your head on the computer screen and add a nasty bruise to complement those warrior wrinkles. So you know what I mean. And I can classify them, too.
There's the, "Sweet malarkey, Child! What are you eating?!" look. It usually happens when your toddler is about to put something small, black, and from the floor into their mouth. If you have or have had a toddler, you've seen them eat with relish from the great and variable offerings of the floor, but you also know that edible things are rarely EVER black. Rotten things, yes. Insects, yes. A washer from the broken kitchen faucet, yes. But something meant to be digested by a human? Not likely! This look of utter, face-marring repulsion also applies as you watch your adolescent son eat 10 slices of pizza in one sitting.
Then there's the, "The baby is sleeping, so you better cut it out" look. This one has to be the most powerful wrinkle-generating look known to mankind, encapsulating everything that the parent's yell would do without the help of practiced vocal chords. You scrunch your face up into the ugliest, most terrifying, eyebrows-on-eyeballs, Elvis-sneering look you can muster in order to prevent your older kids from waking up the baby with their shenanigans. Sometimes, you must give this look several times in rapid succession while pointing a finger like a dagger at the perpetrator of the noise. This look is the one that will cause your grandchildren to run from you when you've finally mellowed out in old age, and it is without doubt the one responsible for making your nose look like it's just an overhang of that deep canyon running down your forehead.
A closely related look is the one you employ while you're on the phone. Every child, as parents well know, holds the fundamental belief that A) the phone is their greatest rival, beside any siblings, for their parent's attention, and B) said parent will physiologically be unable to pry themselves from the phone in order to discipline - no matter how atrocious their kids' behavior becomes while they're thus distracted.
Therefore, children take all phone-parent interaction time as their cue to scream, bang things together, knock each other over the head with wooden spoons, and leap off the furniture - preferably onto a pet or sibling's back. The look a parent must devise in these circumstances is tricky, because, if you are actually speaking to someone on the phone in an old-fashioned way, it involves mouthing all kinds of threats at your kids without allowing any actual sound to leave your mouth, preventing said threats from interrupting your conversation. The wrinkles you get from this could rival any smoker’s.
One of the most common wrinkle-inducing phenomenon is the, “I’m not a witch; I’m your mom!” look. This look occurs out of sheer bafflement when, after asking your kids five times to please put up their toys/backpacks/shoes/stinky socks, you finally scream at the top of your lungs for it to be done RIGHT now. And your kids, wresting themselves at last from the television/Legos/phone cry plaintively, “Why are you being so mean to us?”
That’s just a sampling of the contortions a parent’s face goes through on a regular basis. I haven’t even mentioned the wrinkles you get while trying to comprehend their math homework, their unwavering loyalty to potty humor or their need to text you incessantly while sitting in the same room as you.
But let’s not forget that there are good wrinkles, too. These are the best kind of wrinkles, friendly wrinkles. I certainly don't mind the deep laugh lines my children have given me, or even the increasingly saggy marks on my belly that are proof of four tiny human beings having roomed there until they were ready for the world stage.
As for the crushed silk look of my eyelids and the multiple lines fanning out across my forehead and around my mouth, they're just a hazard of the parenting trade. They make me look intelligent, a real thinker, or so I like to believe. But heaven help me during their teenage years! Worry lines...I think I'll just wear a veil.