Every morning, and a couple of times in between, I have an opportunity to look at my face. I don’t go out of my way to do this, lest you think I am narcissistic, but I check first thing in the morning, under the best lighting ever, whether or not, I look the way I did the night before. However, in an attempt to follow personal hygiene practices (and this is as far as I will go on that subject), I want to make sure, in particular, that there are no unusual lines (okay, wrinkles), bumps (okay, zits) and nothing green between my teeth. I don’t see this ritual as much different from other folks but it makes you wonder, if this is a something cultural that is specific to our hemisphere, or planet or beings ( be it human or animal).
Consider this, we all age, if we are given that gift, and it is a long and winding experience. I have a lot of days when I think, as I check the face, that I’m okay and hanging in there. Then there are the other days, when that face looks familiar. That’s when I see some of the expressions that I remember my mother making and it is somewhat intriguing. I never saw myself in my mother’s face. The word in the family, depending on which side you spoke or listened to, said I resembled my father’s side of the family but not so much my mother’s side. So, this view is different and sends me thinking about what and who do we look like, and why resemblance is at all important. Belonging to a family has different meanings to people. There are assumptions made when people comment on your appearance, as it suggests what they “see” in you. When babies arrive on the scene, every person has an opinion about who the child looks like. I have a memory of a fabulous New Yorker cartoon in which two couples are looking at a newborn, one couple are the parents. The other couple remarks to the mother and then the father, “I think he has your nose, and your eyes” and when you look at the parents, they are missing their nose and eyes. Well, I thought it was funny. As a grandparent of two granddaughters, one born to my son and his wife and my other, born to my stepdaughter and her husband, there is always the vision of others as to whose face each child is connected. They are beautiful children, not just in their visual appeal, but in their expressions and sounds and joyful and sometimes soulful cries. I believe as time moves along, it is not that we don’t see one another aging, but we feel the depth of our affection for one another, which transcends the face.
There are no lotions or facial care products, or surgery that can truly change our age. We can augment our bodies with all sorts of attempts to take care of the outside, and the inside workings of the machinery that keeps us going. There are a lot of intervening factors that play their part in this process, some genetic and some environmental for sure. When people compliment my eyes, I know that I was just lucky to have parents with light colored eyes and genetics has been hard at work. When I feel the aches and pains, I know again, that some of this is way beyond my control. I can look at old pictures of myself and see who I am now. I recognize the moments in the memories and also can see expressions that convey certain emotions that I felt back in time. Some were good, others not so good. Those “Kodak” moments are mere reflections and mirrors for us all. Now is where it’s at, and that face is where I’m at when I look in the mirror. I can hold some of it inside and be that 17 year old for a moment, or that 26 year old new mom or the 62 year old grandmother. It’s up to me and I kind of like that power. That face goes with me wherever I am and whoever I am remembering. It’s got to be okay and it’s going to be just fine.