Esther’s Face

I am starting to look more like my grandmother every day. Just a quick glimpse of myself in a mirror tells me this. This is not the person I want to look like. Not the grandmother I was close to and felt warmly loved by.

But there they are, the sagging jowels, the heavily lidded eyes. Yep, definitely my dad’s mom in that mirror. And aside from the skillful use of a medical scalpel, there isn’t much I can do to stop it. I have always favored that side of the family. I just wish more of my me was showing through those dominant family genetics.

It’s funny how we turn into other people overnight. We reach a certain number of years and the mirror no longer reflects the face we have always seen. Suddenly, you are your own grand-ma. Your face, the one from your 20’s and 30’s, maybe your 40’s, is surely somewhere behind this one. It’s just not visible to your own eyes. All you see now is grandma.

Maybe it would feel better if it were my other grandmother’s face. The one I loved and adored – the one whose hands I have. Oh yes, these are very certainly Jean’s hands. I love these hands.

And yet, this face…Esther’s face. There is something there. Something recognizable and strong. It is a link to my heritage and to the women who came before me. Women with stories who travelled far from their homelands to come here to America, who lived through world wars, the great depression and decades of changes in industry and technologies. Women who raised families on farms and in cities. And who cooked and baked amazing foods and did beautiful needlework. All of these things, I can see in this face in my mirror.

It’s the face that will continue on with me for the rest of my journey. And in the end it will tell my story.