Thursday, March 13, 2014

Smiling Like My Mom

Last night I dreamt my mother, now dead for seventeen years, was alive and happy.
This is an unusual dream - meaning, I can't recall it happening before, though I am sure it has.
Usually we are in conflict, fighting, or she is distant in some way.

In the dream, there was no plot. Simply the image of my mother smiling, happy, facing me, sun on her face. It was glorious.

In fact, she looked quite a bit like me in the photo above, from almost a year ago. Our faces are very similar, with notable differences, but especially our noses with the line in the middle...and because the camera was above me, you see my glasses below my eyes. She often did this in order to read. And our smile - a bit mysterious, no teeth, turned up at the edges.

For years, when I took my glasses off to eat, when I caught a double chin in the mirror, I'd do a double-take. I did not. Want. To. Be. My. Mom. What woman wants to be her mom? I know a few, but they are rare. Most of us want to be our own person. When my mom died with me so young, nineteen years old, it became panicking-ly difficult to remember: who was she? Who am I not being?

As I grow older, instead now I want to know: who was she? Who am I becoming?

Slowly, bit by bit, I play out the same irony so many people do as we age: increasing interest in our families, who are already gone or fading. It would be convenient if as teenagers we wanted to know all that geneology our parents might be researching. But that's not how it works most of the time.

So, instead, I look to my dreams. And there I see that when I am happy, I look a lot like her.
And that is good.

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