By: Christine Fishel
I am starting to look like my mom. I’m 47 years old, and I’ve never had much resemblance to my mother, so it is surprising to me that I am suddenly sharing some of her attributes. My new short hairstyle, exposing my grayness, lightens my coloring to a shade closer to her graying blonde. My sagging eyelids and the puffing under my eyes reveal me to be, like my own mom, an exhausted mother of four. But it’s not just my aging appearance that is causing me to resemble my mom. If I watch myself objectively, I can see her in the swing of my arms as I walk, and hear her in my patterns of speech as I talk
When I first noticed this, I mentioned it to a friend who told me she is noticing the same thing about herself. “I don’t want to look like mom!” she had confessed to her sister, who replied, “But mom is pretty!” My friend had said, “It’s not about how I look. It’s the fact that I don’t want to look like her. I want to look like me.”
I feel the same way! I don’t want to be my mom. I want to be me. But maybe this is God at work in us as daughters of the strong women who raised us. We have always fought to identify ourselves as separate and independent. Now, growing older and more mature, we are beginning to stop fighting against God. And that is leading us to stop fighting against our mothers. As we realize how dependent we are on our God and how okay we are with that dependence, we become less afraid of losing ourselves. A little less guarded, we are becoming open to understanding our mothers, to seeing them less as residents of an opposing side and more as people like us—women struggling to do our best each day we are given.
I want to look in my mirror and see myself, but I am realizing that the pieces of me are not all unique. The full puzzle of me also includes pieces that have been passed down from my mother, her mother, and the mothers before them. Who do you see when you look in the mirror?