summer and fall 1978
Tonight I stood in front of the mirror and staring at the reflection, I had this moment of getting caught, really looking back into my own eyes. My first thought was that I looked like a stranger, and then I was hit by this wave of familiarity... this is the face of my mother and my father. I have now reached the same age that my parents were in my early memories of them, I actually knew them when they were this young and I do resemble them both. It's more than just features, I look at images of my mother balancing me on her hip and I recognize my same physicality, I see my father's lip curl and it's so much like my own. I've always known that my parents were real people, my upbringing was relaxed and I didn't have that veil of authority where you can't comprehend the humanity of your elder. For the first time though, I am really relating to my memories of those early years from the perspective of the adults. I am so different from both my mother and father, my marriage is different, my relationship to parenthood is different... and yet I hear my mother's pacing when I tell a story, I recognize my father's humor in my jokes, and I see both of their eyes staring back at me in the mirror. Those genetics are mysterious, what's passed down, what we rebel against, how we can work so hard to travel a separate path, only to find we've completed a circle. It scares me a little, but I also appreciate the beauty in all the connections.