We all would like to hold onto the “it will never happen to me” mindset in regards to aging, but the truth is that life happens, and despite society’s desperate clinging to youth by its fingertips, we continue to age while the generations following in our footsteps are born and blooming. Mothers Annabel Cole, Tanith Carey and Eve Ahmed recently sat down with Daily Mail to discuss their reactions to their teenage daughters’ coming into their own as each mother’s youth begins to fade.
As Annabel Cole’s daughter Elsa teeters on the border of adolescent and adult, almost ready to turn sweet 16, Cole struggles to accept the fact that her daughter and she herself are transitioning — Elsa to womanhood and Cole to growing older.
I have asked my mother in the past what it was like to be in her 40s and 50s. Her reply was always the same: She never feels older. Her mind has grown wiser through the years, but a person’s mind often feels the same despite their body’s changing looks and developing aches. Maybe that is why the process is so frustrating.
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Cole, it seems, feels similarly, as she admits to Daily Mail, “In my mind’s eye, my daughter Elsa is still a little girl, and I am in the bloom of my 20s.”
Tanith Carey watches her 13-year-old daughter Lily grow with a hint of jealousy and a lot of hope. “When I look at my elder daughter Lily,” she says, “I am reminded of that annoying but oh-so-true cliché: ‘Youth is wasted on the young.’”
As we grow older, the insecurities we had as a teenager fade while we come into our own. I myself am only 23 years old, but there are photographs I look back on, only to remember how upset I was in an outfit, believing I was larger than I was. If only I had the confidence then that I do now.
“Now that finally I have the life experience to know how to make the most of myself, as a late bloomer, it seems rather cruel that the years are starting to show on my face.”
Hoping that her daughter can one day come to a realization of her own beauty before youth runs out, she reassures Lily “to wear her beauty lightly and know that no matter how sculpted the cheekbones or perfectly placed the features, beauty is a convenient veneer that makes life a bit easier — but is never as important as the substance underneath.”
As children and teenagers, we focus so heavily on our insecurities, to the point where they overshadow all our lovely qualities. I suppose that as we grow older and our looks begin to fade, this is something to hold onto. We have found our confidence. Maybe as we grow older, we need it most.
When I consider motherhood, one day hopefully having a daughter of my own, believe it or not, the issue of jealousy has crossed my mind. Will I resent my daughter for her youth while she blooms and I come to terms with every opportunity missed from all the years I spent nitpicking at my appearance while my own mother assured me of my beauty? I’ve come to the conclusion that bitterness is a natural reaction for a mother to have once her glow begins to dim, making way for her daughter to shine.
Eve Ahmed sees a lot of herself reflected in her 18-year-old daughter Claudia. Although once in a while she is struck with envy, she is proud of the lovely woman Claudia has become and continues to grow to be.
“When she started wanting to have her hair styled,” Ahmed remembers, “I’d spend ages blow-drying it straight for her. Due to our Asian ancestry, it can be unruly — not so much ‘crowning glory,’ but more a ‘mind of its own.’ Claudia’s blessed with long legs that give her an extra 4 inches of height. I have to accept that I have been totally eclipsed by her.”
We’ve recently seen a slew of mother-daughter selfies across social media, including those of Cindy Crawford and her daughter Kaia and of Demi Moore poolside with daughter Rumer Willis. And while we all would like to have a stylist at the ready when our skin begins to wrinkle and our colorful locks turn gray, aging is unavoidable, and one day women will inevitably pass their torch to their daughters, granting them their time to shine. This may be done in vain, but more so with pride.