Mom’s Face

My Mom has had the same face her entire life.

You know how you can look at someone’s baby pictures and never know they were the same person?  Not my mom.

If you were to take a series of infant images and their corresponding adult images, how many do you think you could match up – infant face to adult face?  I most likely couldn’t match my own or my daughter’s if I wasn’t familiar with them (my son is a different story, but he’s not far enough away from babyhood just yet).

I am grateful that my great grandmother, Mar – she added the ‘r’ so that people would be sure to pronounce her name as Mah, why she thought Ma wouldn’t be sufficient, I don’t know – anyway, I’m grateful that she had a love for and instilled that love of photography in her children.  We have a treasure trove of encapsulated history because of it and that’s how we know that Mom’s face has always been the same.

We have portrait of Mom as a very little girl taken in the 1930’s, where the photographer carefully arranged her seated on a bench holding a wooden toy. Its colourized, Mom’s eyes are not blue and I don’t think her cheeks were ever that pink, but it is definitely her face.

The underlying structure stays the same whether she is plump toddler, skinny girl in a tap dance recital costume, a free spirit on the beach or the grandmother of eight.  Deep set grey-green eyes, with a longish nose and a mouth that shows off her high cheek bones when she smiles. She has one crooked tooth, the right one next to the front teeth, whatever that’s called.  I think it adds to the genuine quality of her smile.

Her adolescent photos often remind me of Anne Frank, but I’m guessing that’s the time frame just as so many kids always seem to look alike.  Her face was surrounded by jet black hair in her youth, now its a beautiful, soft white.

Sometimes the face is stern, sometimes on purpose – ask my younger brother about the time he ran home and hid all the spatulas and wooden spoons – and sometimes not, she’s just deep in thought. Mostly it shows a twinkle that pokes fun at the world. But with any expression, Mom always looks out recognizable to the world.

Either of my brothers, my sister or I would do anything for that face.  Each of us in turn has told her that she should come live with us if anything (turn around three times and spit) should happen to our father. She always replies with, “Don’t worry about it, I’m okay with going in a home.  Just be sure to check on me, a lot.” As if.

Today I celebrate that face, that wonderfully consistent face. Happy Birthday, Mom!

“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” – Emily Dickinson.

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