I saw a woman in the grocery store today who reminded me SO much of my mom. She was tiny and a little hunched over. She was wearing nerdy sneakers with a long skirt and I could almost hear my mom saying, “Aren’t they cute? Do you want me to buy you a pair?”. Her cool glasses were sliding down her nose and she was squinting to find the item for which she was looking. It made me smile and I even bent over and whispered in Rubina’s ear, “Hey, that lady reminds me of Grammy!”. Rubina said that made her sad, but agreed the lady was “super cute”. I had this urge to approach her and talk to her, but what would I say? I’m guessing “You look like my dead mother” is not on the list of Top 10 Compliments Received by Strangers.
If you haven’t lost a parent or someone close to you, it may be difficult to understand why I’d want to approach this Pamela look alike or even why seeing her gave me some joy. The thing is, I don’t get to see my mom anymore. I’ve shared before how I wish I would have sat with my mom longer than I did after she passed away. I still yearn for that time back; to sit with her and study her face and hands. Seeing someone who resembles her gives me warm fuzzies in a weird way; the good kind of weird.
Any time Rubina sees an Indian woman she says, “Look Mommy! I think she’s Indian. She looks just like you!”. It doesn’t matter how tall, or beautiful, or old, or young they are; she sees me in Indian women. I get a kick out of this because she’s so sweet and so sincere. After todays mom doppelgänger sighting, I began thinking about how my daughter views me and how I viewed my momma. Let me tell you…mothers and daughters are NOT wearing the same type of glasses.
My mom was adorable. So often in her last few years, I would hear people say of her “She is the cutest, little lady”. She really was. Growing up, I never thought about my moms weight (except when she was talking about it, I suppose) or beauty. I always thought my mom was pretty. I’m fairly certain she didn’t view herself in the same light as I did. She was my mom and I looked at her through daughter colored glasses; with adoration and awe. Of course my daughter colored glasses also assisted me in me being super annoyed, bothered, and critical of her parenting the older I got, but I never thought about the firmness of her skin, the frailty of her hair, or the size of her jeans. She obsessed over her weight most of her life, and her wrinkles, and the whiteness of her teeth, but I never cared about those things.
Momma’s, when our daughters tell us we’re beautiful, we should listen. Because in not listening, we are teaching them how to view themselves. Let’s live through the lens with which they view us. They care that we’re present, loving, encouraging, caring, forgiving, and gracious. They don’t care if our jeans are too tight, if our dark circles are peeking out through caked on concealer, or if we can feel our double chin(s) moving when we laugh… They see that we enjoy meals with them, that we wake up multiple times each night to make sure they’re still breathing and rise early to prepare for the day. They see that we are enjoying life so much that everything jiggles when we express our joy through laughter.
Nobody cares if your skin is bad. Or if you’re fit. Or if you’re wearing nerdy sneakers. Do you like your sneakers? Then, put them on and go to the grocery store. Nerdy sneaker lady just made my day.