Posted by: canthold | July 6, 2007

Looking Like Mother

just-born.jpg

I took my kids down to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose yesterday. It was a fun outing with my mom, who happens to be on vacation this week. It is worth seeing if you’re in the neighborhood, though it was quite crowded when we went.

The trip to visit Grandma takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour, 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Almost the entire way my kids ask the question, “Are we closer to our house, or Grandma’s?” I have some idea where half is, and I give them the estimation based on this side or that of that imaginary mid-point. My iPod is loaded with kids’ tunes and I try very hard not to fiddle with locating certain favored songs while driving the speed limit, of course.

Speaking of the speed limit, a police car followed me the entire way across the Richmond Bridge and beyond. I was once told (by a cop) not to let a cop follow me for more than a few minutes because after five, they can find something wrong on any car. Confident that I was not doing anything illegal and my car was in fine shape (current registration and such) I wasn’t worried. But while living on this side of the law, it is still unnerving to have a police car behind me for so long. It’s enough to make the innocent paranoid. Why is that?

Right after arriving at my mom’s, we piled back into the car to get some lunch, which means I order breakfast foods. I think that everyone has a favorite dish they find to be their comfort food. Mine is breakfast. When I was younger (and thinner and could eat anything I wanted without consequence) I would always get the French toast or waffles. Now it’s the eggs, (over medium) hash-browns and bacon.

The gentleman who took our money at the register looked at my mom – then at me – and proclaimed that she must be my mom. He said we definitely looked alike. Then he looked at my oldest daughter and said that she, too, belonged in there. My two children don’t look like each other except in general characteristics.

While long debated when my husband and I only had one child, with two there is no debate. My oldest looks like me and my youngest looks like him. When there was just one, my side of the family said she looked like me, while my husband’s family claimed resemblance to him. The funny thing is that my oldest daughter looks just like me when I was her age. Our childhood pictures side-by-side are very similar – even down to similar poses.

The funny thing is that all the while I was growing up, my brother is the one who supposedly looked like my mom and I looked like my dad. I think there is enough resemblance in my mom that it’s not a surprise that we’re family, but I don’t remember people pointing out that we looked alike. And nobody ever knew my brother and I were related because we looked so different. But everyone always knew my brother and my mother were kin.

In fact, my half-sister (same dad) and I look very similar except for the influences of our mothers. I’m lighter skinned (my mom is a red-head) and she’s darker due to her mother’s Italian heritage. She’s taller and her hair is a bit darker, but we both look like our dad. I think that my half-sister and I look more alike than my brother and I do. But maybe that’s perception.

In any case, it was interesting to hear the opinions of strangers on something that is so ingrained in our personal mythology. I find that recognizing myself in my oldest daughter is very important to me. It’s almost like it helps me to relate to her – to understand her better. My youngest daughter has the trait that I love the most in my husband: his blue eyes. They are striking and very saturated, while my oldest’s are more washed out with a dark ring around the iris like I have.

Given that my mom and I remember things so differently, I wonder if she remembers people saying that she and I looked alike. And no matter what happened before, someone just said we did now.

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