March 19, 2013

Circle


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.

17 comments:

  1. I am so fascinated by genes and inherited traits too. I can see so much of you in both your parents! And I think this is my favourite post of yours, ever. Kellie xx

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    1. It is amazing isn't it... thanks so much for the kind words Kellie!

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  2. So true! I've always been amazed when I realize that my parents were my age at one time.
    I love these photos.

    xo
    cortnie

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  3. Oh man, the circle. That kills me. I love my parents but it's so strange to see tendencies that I gleaned from them clearly present in my new life. That's the beauty of it all, right?

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  4. Beautiful post, Lilly. It's so strange for me.. I have hard time seeing either of my parents in me. My physical features don't resemble either one of them and by and large, my personality seems to be a reaction against their personalities. Maybe as I get older I'll see more similarities, who knows. Either way, I thought this post was really nice.

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    1. I actually think a lot of people feel the way that you do Julie, James is in that camp too. Some people are nothing like their parents, physically or personality wise. I never thought much about it, but recently have been so struck by the similarities for me... I even have the same style and don't know how that happened :)

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  5. Sometimes I catch myself singing a song or saying something silly to Alice and I hear my mother's voice in place of mine... it's funny how I tried for so many years to not be like my mom and, by having a kid, I've brought her out in me.

    But the stubbornness all comes from my dad. ;-)

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  6. I just commented on your photos on IG, but I love this post. It rings quite true for me, also, that as I get older I can see my parents appearing in my reflection and mannerisms. It was bound to happen sometime. Apparently mid-30s is the time, huh? Wonderful pictures.

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  7. Beautiful! I love this post. I have been feeling very much the same way when I look into the mirror. I resemble my father, and sometimes it freaks me out to see his ghost looking back at me! So amazing. And you do look like such a good mix of your parents- you got the best from both of them!

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    1. It freaks me out too- even though there's no ghost, it's just a little unnerving! And best of both? Aw thanks, that's so nice!

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  8. This is so true. I often catch myself making expressions like one of my parents, or vocal tones (even the negative ones that I wish I didn't do) with my children - I see them in the things I do. Sometimes it's great, and sometimes it horrifies me. But you're right - even in choosing your own path, it comes around full circle.

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  9. What a lovely piece of writing. I definitely see the resemblance with your mom. Of course, I can't see the gestures, etc. and that's so much a part of what makes people look alike too. Those pictures are great. Looks like you were born in the thirties. ;)

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  10. It is so hard to comprehend I think. We so naturally look for ourselves in our own children, but I think it's far less common to look for ourselves in our parents. Your mother appears to have the stance of a strong woman and is incredibly beautiful, so I would so you do take after her. And I must say, your father has some impressive biceps!

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  11. I've been experiencing the same thing lately! But you describe it so beautifully.

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  12. I love everyone's comments to this post. It seems to be a very shared sentiment. We're all rebelling in some way against our parents only to find out we will always have so much of them in the core of our beings. It's so funny to realize that your children will remember you this way. They will carry with them all of your quirks and particular 'you'-ness just as you carry around your parents'. Sometimes that totally blows my mind.

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  13. What a beautiful post in every way. I think everyone can certainly relate to this feeling.
    Thank you for sharing these precious photos of your parents wit us...
    Ronnie xo

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