It’s always fun showing somebody new a picture of my mom. They look at her, then quickly look at me. I wait, watching their gears turn. They look back at the picture, then back at me and say, “Oh my god. You look just like her.”
Yeah. I do. I look just like my dead mom.
My roommate refers to my sister and me as my mom’s clones — as if my dad’s genetics had nothing to do with our existence. (Fun Fact: They do; they just show up in my solid calves and flat feet.) My face, hair, and eyes? All mom.
Most of the time, I view our physical similarities as a compliment. But as Mother’s Day looms in the distance, I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t physically resemble the woman who died less than six years ago.
Because the older I get, the more I remember: my mom is dead.
And it’s not because there’s something pathologically wrong with me. It’s because every birthday I celebrate inches me closer to the time span where I physically knew and was close to my mother, that period between age 30 and age 51. The older I get, the more I look like the mother I loved and lost.
My mom was 30 when she had me. I was the first of two kids, and the physical manifestation of her life’s dream of being a mother. When I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’d always reply, “I just wanted to be a mom.”
She was extremely well suited for motherhood and did everything in her power to give my sister and me a good life. She was sheltering and firm, but also encouraged and even instigated some of my still-blooming passions like writing, music, and art. She was crafty, silly, and fun. She was a beautiful singer and loved building community through Bible studies and moms groups. And unlike so many parents, she was not afraid of or incapable of loving my sister and me. Love literally seeped from her…