I spent most of my teenage angst telling my mother how I would “never” be anything like her.
I Look Like My Mother!
Now, I am frequently told I look like my mother. Until recently I generally replied with a snarky remark along with my thanks as my personal vanity got in the way of someone’s observation. To the outsider, my mom is a tall, slender woman in her early 70s with short perky salt and pepper hair–gaining in salt–a welcoming grin, and intelligent green eyes. She dresses conservatively, wears no or very little make-up, and wears small pieces of fine jewelry–her wedding ring, and anniversary band, diamond stud earrings, a nice watch, and occasionally a necklace or bracelet. To anyone passing her in the supermarket or local mall, she is unremarkable–plain and ordinary.
As I’ve contemplated my mother–observed her, talked to her, asked her questions–I’ve discovered she is anything but plain and ordinary.
My mother’s body is laced with scars that like a fine tapestry tell a story about cancer survival. Her hands have held the hands of women in India who had been burned and disfigured by their abusive husbands. Her ankle makes airport metal detectors go off because she adventurously rode her bike through the rice fields outside of Bangkok and took a disastrous spill.
My mother’s hands have applied more ointment and band-aids than I can count; they have lovingly cooked delicious meals; canned food; decorated more than 100 birthday cakes. My mother’s hands have bled while sewing the perfect prom dress for me and an amazing wedding ring quilt. My mother’s hands have gently held each of my children soon after they were born as she reassured me, “you can do this.” My mother has let me know I am a survivor when I needed to know it most.
My mother refers to her skin as “crepey” as she ages. I see it as soft and comforting–a safe place to fall. The lines in my mother’s face are the trophies of laughter and joy. She is wise and wicked smart. She is the kind of friend I want to be to others–honest and compassionate.
I can think of no higher compliment than to be told “you look like your mother.” She is beautiful. Thank you for noticing.