The other day at lunch, my mother requested a suitable-for-framing copy of this picture, taken during my photo shoot with the jewelry artist a while back.
"Is it the hat?" I asked. "Because it's so rare that I find one that fits my melon head? Not that I blame you. I'm putting that one on Dad." "No," she answered. "It's because you look so much like Kiki at that age." Kiki was my grandmother. "That's nice, Mom." This isn't the first time someone has noticed a grandmotherly resemblance. After my father's funeral, when I had gotten up to read a passage in church, a distant childhood friend remarked, "Oh, my God. When you walked up to that lectern, I thought it was Neva Belle!" Neva Belle (we called her Mere Mere) was my other grandmother.
I think Jamie Lee Curtis has the right take on this. She says: "Genetics are the key to aging. I now resemble both my grandmothers, where when I was younger I didn’t see them at all, and if I am now looking at myself with the eye of one who can look back at photos and movies and commercials and miss the good old days, that would be a wasted life. We are ALL going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us, if we are lucky enough to make it through this hard life into older adulthood."
Today, I will deliver the requested photograph to my 81-year-old mother, happy in the knowledge that when she looks at it, she will see her mother. No matter how old that makes me feel.