I carried them for nine months and nursed them for at least as long; went through morning sickness, nausea, a C-section, VBAC, migraine headaches, and major sleep loss for them; got carpal tunnel syndrome and had to completely change my wardrobe —you’d think my kids could at least look like me in some way. Some daily, visual nod to the fact that I AM THEIR MOTHER. But in my case and that of many other moms, “it just ain’t so”. I mean, there are adoptive moms I know who resemble their children more than I resemble mine. Neither one of my kids looks anything like me– not that I would want them to completely, but it would be great if at least one of them had eyes like mine, or maybe the shape of their face…instead, I have to be satisfied with sharing “sort of similar hair color” and “crowded mouth” with Emmie, and “hair thickness” and “excellent teeth enamel quality” with Allison. Nothing else, at least that I can see. Allison’s eyes are like Andy’s father’s, her ginger hair color is Andy’s mom’s, ditto for her myriad of freckles, and her face shape is all-Andy. Emmie’s eyes, nose and face shape are all-Andy, and she has freckles, too.
I just think there’s something nice about family members looking alike, especially when there’s more than one child in a family, with some children favoring the mom, some resembling the dad. It’s like a “balanced tribe”. My brother and I look like my mom; my sister looks like my dad. Andy looks like his mom; his sister looks like his dad.
As we age and change, sometimes it takes old photos to see the resemblance. I have a friend who once posted a couple of her and her husband’s elementary school photos on their fridge, next to their two sons’ school photos taken in the same grade. I’d never thought they looked so much like their kids, but the resemblance was uncanny—hers was almost identical to her oldest son’s photo; her husband’s was identical to the youngest son’s. Last Sunday, I had the chance to do something similar for a mother-daughter tea hosted by Allison’s drill team. For a party decoration, they requested that every mom submit childhood photos of themselves and their daughters taken at the same ages. I found a school photo of me in 4th grade, and paired it with Allison’s 4th grade school photo. There they were, side by side at the tea, magneted to a giant metal wall. Nope, not a shred of similarity between the two photos (other than the fact that 70’s fashion was in vogue when both pictures were taken– Allison’s crocheted poncho looks almost as groovy as my plaid vest!! ). Many other pairs on that wall looked like twins.
Yep, I think it’s an exclusive club, we non-look-alike moms. Sometimes it’s especially hard being in it, like for women who have gone through rough divorces—with their kids looking very much like their exes, I’m sure that sometimes it’s a painful reminder. Or women who are the mothers of all boys who resemble only their father. Talk about feeling like an outsider!
Guess I should count my blessings that right now I don’t look like my kids. At a time in their lives when Mom is uncool and they’re trying to carve out their own identities, maybe looking like me would only make things worse. And maybe it’s especially good for those days when they misbehave in public, when I hope, hope, hope no one thinks I’m their mother. I’m certain I’d be pretty believable if I shrugged my shoulders and said, to sympathetic onlookers, “I’m just the chauffeur!”