Become Yourself

As an adult, I have often been told that I look like my mother, although mostly by my mother’s friends and my father’s family, not by my mother’s family, who consider me to favor my father. I am able to identify similarities to both parents in my face, and, since I turned 45, I have been somewhat startled to see my maternal grandmother’s face echoed in my own reflection on a few occasions. Nearly sixteen years ago, John and I beheld our oldest daughter for the first time in a sonogram image taken to confirm my pregnancy at about 10 weeks. Even in the womb, the barely formed face was to me reminiscent of my husband’s mother (“Yikes, she already looks like my mother-in-law!”). When K was born, I looked into her beautiful, wrinkled little-old-man face and thought of my mother’s father, beloved Grampa, who had left this earth seven years before. My maternal grandmother, Gramma, with the help of my Aunt Jean, made the effort to call me at the hospital to congratulate me on the birth, and I was pleased to tell her that K would be named for her. A couple of weeks later I was able to introduce K to her namesake, among other members of the family. I pointed out how K’s dark brows reminded me of Grampa; my mother thought K looked like my husband, others said she had my eyes, my mother’s mouth, etc. Gramma heard all of this, studied the baby for a moment, and pronounced, “She has her own face.” Lately, that memory has been resonating for me, as I look at my own face in the mirror. Instead of seeing my mother’s mouth, my father’s eyes, his father’s nose, and even the bone structure of Grampa’s mother, all jumbled together, I am now beginning to recognize that it is, indeed, finally, my own face.