“I look like my mother in this coat,“ I said to my husband, on the way out the other day. The quick glance in the entrance mirror as I opened the door confirmed my statement. In my mother’s long beige wool coat, a bright, sky blue scarf wound around my neck, I couldn’t ignore the resemblance.
On the way to work, still wrapped in my mother’s warmth, I had to admit that the likeness was not only physical. As I age, I resemble her more and more . . . or maybe I’m just more aware of the similarities.
Like my mother,
· I love a well-set table, and I take great pains to make everything just right. I use the china often, set off with her wedding silver, knife blades turned inward, as she taught me.
· I have my own distinctive fashion style, preferring quality signature garments that last for decades to trendy fads.
· I am always cold. I need a hood and gloves when others are still in fleece tops and sandals. Scarves and shawls now occupy one whole dresser drawer, and I have taken to wearing my boots all day to keep my feet warm.
· I lose earrings; they catch in the scarves.
· I monitored my children’s language as they grew, as she monitored mine in both French and English, and, although my children poke fun at my zeal from time to time, all three are articulate and well-spoken.
· I love to cook.
· I turn on the light over the sink, as she always did.
· I make a big deal of birthdays and special days in the lives of those I love.
· My grandson will call me “Mémère.”
· I’m an introvert camouflaged in an extrovert’s persona, impatient for quiet after an entire day of listening, asking questions, smiling, making eye contact, drawing people out. Let’s be clear, I enjoy people, and my inquiries are sincere. My source needs frequent replenishment, however, for sustainability.
· I am prone to malaproprisms, especially with names.
· I am tenacious, a nice way of saying “stubborn,” and self-reliant.
· I need to be useful, to contribute, especially to my family. Sometimes, though, I forget to ask what form that help might take, and my efforts can be gauche as a result.
· I flatter myself that I have even a smidgen of her strength, though I haven’t (yet) been tested as she was.
I am proud to be her daughter, and comforted that I resemble her in any way. On this, the fifth anniversary of her death, her determination shored me up, and I finished the day a little ahead of where I thought I’d be. I will need that strength in the time to come. I look to her example to sustain me.