Life as an Extreme Sport


One of the silly things that has always vaguely bothered me has been how little I look like my mother, especially given that my sister really is a carbon copy of Mom. I’ve often been tempted to photoshop that image to the left, since receiving it, to put my sister’s glasses and hair on Mom, just to prove the point.

Me, I look like my aunt, Mom’s older sister. In fact, as much as my sister is a spitting image of my mother, I am a spitting image of my aunt. My aunt and mother didn’t have a good relationship, and I’ve always wondered if that fed, subconsciously, into my own relationship with Mom. And I’ve always wished that there was something visible of her in me, moreso this last year than ever.

A friend has recently had a new addition to his family, that addition being about the same age as I am in this photo of me with Mom. Because I created the slide show we used at Mom’s funeral, I have about 350 pictures of Mom scanned into my computer, and I was thinking about the ones of me as a newborn, and offered to send the pictures along after resizing. He was pleased at the idea, and so after we finished talking I pulled up the photos to resize and upload them.

It wasn’t until then, literally that 20 minutes ago, that I realized I do share one prominent feature with Mom, it’s just not something I’d ever specifically thought about her having – or, for that matter, me having. (Folks who were around when I chopped my hair off might have already guessed where I’m going.) Unfortunately, I don’t have any good pictures of myself that highlight my dimples, but I do have them.

And they match Mom’s.

One of the things people always comment on, when talking about Mom, looking at her photos, is her beautiful smile and laugh. And it’s one of my strongest and most pervasive memories, one of the first things I remember, one of the things woven most strongly through my life. It’s one of my last memories. The sound of her laughter, the shape of her smile, the gentle creasing of the dimples. I used to sit on her lap and poke my fingers in those dimples, poking her face up into a smile, and laughing when she did.

It’s something small, it might be something only I can see. But now I see a small, visible part of her in me.