Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My Father's Face, My Mother's Face

All my life, people have noticed my resemblance to my father's side of the family. It's as though my grandmother Lillian, my dad, and I shared the same face with slight variations. At Lillian's funeral about 15 years ago, one of my great-aunts became visibly disturbed at my arrival--she said for a moment she thought her sister-in-law had come back to life.

My brother, on the other hand, looks more like our mother--a more slender nose, a narrower jawline. Besides having similar eyes, my brother and I bear so little likeness to one another that people rarely take us for siblings. (Not until they detect the similarity in our odd, somewhat dry, senses of humor, that is. Also a legacy of our parents.)

My brother and I have outlived our father by more than 30 years, and now that I'm older, I've noticed that I'm starting to look like our mother. Something in the neck, something in the nose. Is it proximity that makes us change? Sort of like people who claim to resemble their dogs. Is it that my body, my very cells are reacting to having my mother in my life so much longer?

I don't want to lose my likeness to Dad. It's one of the most important things he left me. (That, plus a basic distrust of gambling and the aforementioned sense of humor.) Maybe when my face stops this middle-age morphing, I'll come out the other side a mix of the best of both, with a good dollop of just me for good measure.


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