My Mother’s Eyes

The arrival of a new baby invariably brings an age old question. Who does s/he look like? Often we will decide for ourselves that they have a look from an ancestor on our side of the family because it is natural to be looking for ourselves in the newest generation.

But why do we do this? Are we looking for some affirmation that our genes will live on when we are gone? Is it vanity that we look for signs of ourselves in the freshest faces in our family circles?

We want each person to be themselves and we also want them to be a little of us too.

I have three (adult) children and none of them look obviously like me. I have very blue eyes, they have inherited their father’s hazel/brown. And yet there is no escaping these are my kin. My daughter and I sound exactly alike, so much so that even her siblings are not sure who they are talking to over the phone.

If you tied my hands together I would be unable to speak, she is the same. All three have a wicked sense of humour and when they are together in the same room they are immediately identifiable as siblings and yet physically they are all very different. So it is more than looks that link us.

I have always been more in tune with my Dad, we have the same thought process we do not need to speak to know what the other is thinking and people have remarked that I am a chip off the paternal block.

My Mum passed away a couple of years ago and the path we were all walking veered suddenly. Life is not the same without her in any shape or form, I am lost. I do not acknowledge this has happened concentrating on keeping my father safe and functioning. One day I will have to grieve but that day is not for now.

So how is it that the other day brushing my hair ready for work my Mum’s eyes were looking back at me in the mirror? I was wearing her expression. I’m not sure when that happened, perhaps it has always been there.

Coming home on the bus earlier this week I put my hand out to steady myself as the driver clearly thought that he was on a race track and took a corner almost on two wheels. I glanced down and saw my Mum’s hands. The same shape, the same length, the same shape nails. It gave me a jolt. Mum always looked after her hands and after she lost her sight I used to manicure them regularly. That was one of the last things I did for her in her final days.

I have not noticed how like her hands mine have become, and I am comforted that I see it now.

When my son introduces me to my first Grandson in the summer I hope that I will refrain from saying “Goodness you are so like your Daddy.” But I will be looking for him, and me, my husband, our parents. Just a little something that says “I am me, but I am also you”.

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