Just this morning Grace passionately apologized to her Olaf crayon when she broke his tip off. (She tends to color hard.)
GRACE: Olaf. I am sorry I broke you because I love you Olaf. (Whispers to her Olaf crayon) You are my favorite. More than that reindeer.
ME: Why do you like Olaf so much?
GRACE: Because he’s white. And because the one thing he wants- to live in the sun and the summer- he wants it so bad but doesn’t know it will melt him into nothing.
A little later, while moisturizing her hair, Grace wishes her skin and hair were like mine. After taking her to school, the day is consumed by the worry that what she wishes will melt her self-love and confidence into nothing.
As someone blessed with an intense resemblance to my mother and given her first name, I wasted so much life cursing that resemblance and hiding that first name. The irony of having a daughter desperate to physically resemble me is pretty much heartrending.
I can’t make us the same color. I will always be, as she calls me, ‘beige’ and she will always be ‘brown’, but I hope and pray she learns to love who she is and what she happens to look like.
As me, my sister, her husband and three of their four daughters clear out the rest of our mom’s home in preparation for a new owner, I relax into the comfort of family resemblance. And find myself longing for that luxury in my nuclear unit of three.
Just in time, my husband sends me a photo of our beautiful child, who has drawn me a note in my absence. Suddenly, any attachment I might have to resemblance breaks like the fragile tip of a white crayon.
Resemblance is surface and beyond our control. What is in my control is how much I can love and appreciate the later-in-life gift of my husband and child. My deep appreciation of these two people taking over the rest of my life creates as strong a bond as sharing the same blood, plasma, guts and glory.
Happy Independence Day.