Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Facing Facts

 I have always looked like my father. Well. except for the beard. And my hair was longer. And he was a tall person, and while I have been accused of many things in my life, I have never been accused of being tall. But aside from all of that, I looked like my father. 

I remember once when I was just a kid, out kicking down our dirt road with my brothers and sisters, a couple of fishermen were coming up out of the creek, and one of them said, "Hey. Is your dad ------. It scared me a little, those vague warnings, even back then, of strangers, and how they pretend to know you... There were four of us which would have made things a bit more difficult, I suppose, because we were scrappy little critters. So I answered, "Yes." 

And the man said, "Gees. You look just like him."

Everyone said that, all of my life. 

Except that I was washing dishes some months back and I looked at the window into the pitch black back yard. A face peered dimly back at me, and it was my mother's face. 

Mother/daughter relationships are not always easy. I asked her once, "Why are you so angry at me?" and her answer spat back at me, "Because you LEFT!" I looked at her, shocked. I am a mom too. It would never enter my mind that my children should never leave. I raised them to be independent. I wanted them to fly free. I wanted them to go all the places that I never did. While all these thoughts flashed through my mind, my mother glared at me, never flinching. I knew for a fact she had never spoken truer words than the ones she'd just said to me. 

Our relationship was even rougher at the end because she died of liver failure, and for the last couple years of her life, fluctuating ammonia levels affected her mind. Always sharp tongued, opinionated and critical, she became even worse during those last few days. 

So staring at my mother's face in the black window pane scared me. I know that sounds stupid, but when you know who you look like and suddenly you don't look like them, it's a bit freaky. I thought, for an impossible moment, that she was outside the window in the dark, looking in at me. 

My dad was skinny for most of his life.  As I gained a few pounds, my face changed. I have my mother's very blue eyes, and with the rounder face and the gray hair...well...suddenly I looked like my mom. This pandemic has added a few more pounds and the resemblance to my mother has only increased. 

Last week, looking in the mirror I studied my mother's face as she studied mine while I brushed my teeth. it was time to face facts.

I weighed myself, and walked out of the bathroom, I got a little note book and sat down. I wrote the date. I wrote the weight. I used my phone to count the calories in 6 oz of greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of yogurt, and one cappuccino made with skim milk and 1 tsp of sugar. 

The diet has begun. 


  1. The impetus for the diet is unusual, and I hope that it not only brings you great health and peace, but also frees you from those painful memories of your mother. I too look like my mom, although she's one of my best friends and a wonderful person. However, I am not her. I would not want to be her. No matter what, you're not your mother, no matter the physical resemblance you might share with her.

  2. As I get older, my mother's face grows on mine. It has always been something I have anticipated and dreaded. She is short and very fat with grey wiry hair which she keeps cropped and I am considerably taller, still with red hair and very much slimmer yet she still grows on me - I only briefly look into mirrors to check I am presentable, then leave that face there.

  3. One teaspoon of sugar sounds very harsh. Good luck with the diet.

  4. I'm going the other way....... Due to a dicky heart I am having to lose weight as well, and the more I lose the more I look like my mother! She did her best, but she never really liked me. Even at the end, she pushed me away. Not to worry.... will only glance in the mirror now and not spend too much time examining the growing wrinkles and watching my face grow into my mum!
    Good luck with the diet.......

  5. My mom was not a bad person. She was just the sort of person that if she felt as if you were wrong, she was qualified to mete punishment. If she liked you, you could do not wrong. If she didn't, you could do no right. I loved my mom, but she was a very complicated person. So yes, there are nice memories.

    Like quitting smoking, diets are one of those things that you either do or don't. It's more about how motivated you are to make a change. I quit smoking 21 years ago. I was pretty motivated to change. I expect that dieting is the same thing.

    My parents were stubborn people so I get it from them.

  6. I take after my Dads side, dark brown eyes and thick dark brown hair which is now grey and not so thick. The shock for me was when looking though a mirror I saw my paternal Grandmother. I looked exactly like a photograph I have of her. That really shook me up.

    Good luck with your diet.

  7. Strange how the word "die" appears in "diet" because dieting may at times feel rather like dying. Good luck with it Debby. I have never dieted in my life but I have often thought I should try to lose a few pounds simply by eating more fruit. Fruit for breakfast and then when I get the urge to have a snack eat an apple or a peach. Cutting out bread would also be a good idea.

  8. That was a rude awakening for you, but I am not sure if it should cause a diet to ensue unless you were getting to that point anyway. All the best whatever the case.

  9. I've been told a number of times that I look like my dad ______ which is always awkward to respond too since he is isn't my biological father.

    I haven't seen my biological father since I was six years old except for some pictures on the internet when I google his name. But when I do see those pictures and scroll in close to his face, I do see myself looking back and it always feels strange.

    Good luck on the diet!

  10. Recently I was examining my face in the mirror (twice a day only looking for those black hairs around my mouth and chin), and I realized that I look like my Dad now. I used to have brown hair, now it's silver white, like his was for years. I see his round face, like his sister's face, my favorite aunt's cheeks on my face now. I have my mother's green eyes, so I really like that! My cousin on my mother's side still has brown hair, with only threads of gray, and she is ten years older than me! She's 77.
    I had a good childhood, my brother and 4 sisters all chat with me on a sibling thread, we love each other and agree that we had loving parents. Still, it was a surprise to see my Dad's face looking back at me.

  11. While it may not be for the right reasons, losing weight is something we all should do. I recently came across a photo of my paternal grandmother and I was shocked at how much I look like her.

  12. Poignant post.

    My father's face increasingly gazes rather sternly at me from the mirror, and this troubles me for I feel I will never be as fine a man as he was. Oh well, my son, who looks increasingly like me, might compensate.

  13. I wish you every success. I had to do that once, and counting helped.

  14. I lost the five holiday pounds I had gained just this week, and 2 more besides that. However, since my bout of stomach trouble a year ago, it isn't hard for me. That's just the luck of the draw, because I never was good at dieting. I guess old age is changing my tastes and appetite.

  15. It's interesting that you can see both parents in your features at different times. I don't understand your mom's anger, either. Aren't children SUPPOSED to leave?!

  16. Oh Debby I wish I looked like my mother - I got picked out across the room when I was sixteen for being the spit of my grandmother (had never met the man and he hadn't seen her for 60 years).

    As I age, I get more like her.

    BTW - I have lost over 20kg so far with the 5:2 diet.


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