For the majority of the recent past people have always commented on how much I look like my mom. During my first week of college in the Bronx and Mom took me for pizza with my little sister. The pizza guy asked my mom what year she was. My best guy friend in high school said “we could be twins.” This should have been my first indicator of being friend zoned. We never saw it, but then she got glasses too… I don’t remember disagreeing after that. But, no matter who said it, when it was said, or how it was said, I responded with a sincere “thank you.” Maybe not the first time, but it was the first complement that was easy to receive.
Accepting complements with a “thank you” rather than a retort as to why the statement wasn’t true, was advice I had found in some guilty pleasure magazine I read in high school. (TBH, it was probably Seventeen.)
As any adolescent girl would, I had to work on my self-confidence and this was a great first step for me. Typically, when someone would compliment me, I would immediately feel embarrassed because I was afraid they thought I was better than them, and I just didn’t feel this way! I would return it with another compliment as to why they were also great in the same area.
When people would tell me I looked like my mom, I started to reflect on what that actually meant. My mom was perfect. This was opaque to me while she was alive, but as I have meditated on her life, talked to those she admired, and seen the impact she left on this world, it is overwhelming clear that she was perfect with her imperfections.
Mom lived each day like it was Christmas. No matter what was going on in her life, Mom would always work to make a personal connection with each person she came into contact with. “The work is where the relationships are,” she would say. Her goal was always to make you feel loved for having talked to her. On Christmas, “the whole world takes a break – at least that’s how it seems,” said one of my sisters recently. She’s so right. Everyone takes time out of their busy lives to just be with one another.
“We are human beings, not human doings,” she would say.
I may resemble my mom on the outside – a genetic blessing I hope to carry on with the grace she had. I will, however, continue to become the best version of myself to the Glory of God just as my mom always did. She lead through example.