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  • Living Beyond

    April 5, 2007

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    Since my mother’s sister died in January, my cousins have been dealing with the exhausting task of going through their mother’s belongings. There is a lot of agonizing and sorting and deciding that must be done when trying to dismantle the accumulation of a lifetime.

    In a package of things they returned to my mother, there was a picture of me when I was about the same age that Sean is now. When my mother came out to visit recently, she gave the picture to me. I hadn’t seen the picture before and when she handed it to me I was struck by how much of Sean I saw in my own face. Not so much in features, although there is certainly some of that, but something beyond that. Something that can’t be described in words or explained by genetics. Something impish behind the eyes, an almost imperceptible curl of the lip or lift of the brow — something so intimate that it can only be discerned from having looked into a mirror for 47 years.

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    As I held the picture in my hand, peering 44 years back into time, it made my knees weak to see the likeness of my son in my own three-year-old face. I could only think about how in the weaving of the great tapestry of life, God himself picks and chooses tiny filament threads to carry over from parent to child, from one generation to the next, binding us all together through the ages with the double helix of DNA or some other invisible something that is not yet known to man.

    I thought about how it is through Sean and the miracle that is his life that I might possibly live beyond my own allotted days on this earth and into a future I will not know and can’t anticipate or comprehend, a time that will be attended to by faces that I will never see, whose names I will never know. I will return to the dust from whence I came. No matter how remarkably I live out my life, sooner rather than later, time will erase every trace and memory that I was here….

    Except maybe… at some appointed time in a distant future, God will craft another funny face with something impish behind the eyes and an imperceptible curl of the lip or lift of the brow. And then, even though I might have been forgotten, I will not be gone.

    27 Comments »

    1. Mommy Dearest says:

      There is certainly a strong resemblance there. People tell me that our oldest looks like me, and the other seven like their daddy. That makes me a human incubator, I guess. It really is quite fascinating to wonder what aspects of our looks, personalities, etc. will live on in generations to come.

      April 4th, 2007 at 11:01 pm

    2. His Singer says:

      Wow. Quite a resemblance, and a great post!

      BTW, you’ve received an award. Step on over to the blog, Missy!

      April 4th, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    3. bonniebeth says:

      Beautifully worded.

      As I was holding my grandson, standing in front of my father who was in the last stages of dementia and hadn’t known me that morning, his eyes were on the child and they suddenly brightened with recognition…he looked at my mother and said, “look at the boy, he shares our blood”.

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      April 5th, 2007 at 6:49 am

    4. chris says:

      wow, there is an impish resemblance in those two photos.

      And look how cute you are in your little starched dress!

      April 5th, 2007 at 7:31 am

    5. wordgirl says:

      I hear you. I am always a little stunned when I see aspects of myself in my children. Despite the fact that they grew inside me, the likenesses never cease to amaze me.

      April 5th, 2007 at 8:10 am

    6. Antique Mommy says:

      What I think is amazing is not so much the physical likeness, but the — and here’s where I don’t have a word — attitude? some sort of essence of being or something I can’t describe. How does that happen?

      April 5th, 2007 at 8:16 am

    7. Everyday Mommy says:

      He’s absolutely beautiful, my Friend. And, so are you.

      April 5th, 2007 at 8:45 am

    8. Robbin says:

      Wow – those photos really show a resemblance!

      Every once in a while I will catch a glimpse at a certain angle, and I am shocked at how much of myself I see in Harry. People would joke with us that he was going to be a brown-eyed redhead, but we never thought we would get that lucky. I think I expected him to be the image of my husband.

      And isn’t that one of the small, just-short-of-vain comforts of having children? That something of yourself will remain, and there will be one small slice of immortality?

      April 5th, 2007 at 10:30 am

    9. fully operational battle station says:

      When I first opened this post, I thought Sean was holding up a picture of himself.

      Too cute.

      Jamie

      April 5th, 2007 at 10:31 am

    10. Mrs. Nehemiah says:

      this is how our mothers seemed to “read our minds” my sons face is an open book to me because I’ve lived with those expressions far longer than he’s been alive. I can look at a photo of him and almost “remember” what he was thinking.

      it is amazing how God builds these little people isn’t it?
      Mrs N

      April 5th, 2007 at 10:35 am

    11. Susan says:

      That was so beautiful.

      I have a picture of my great aunt sitting on a porch around the turn of the century. I have another one of her, around the same time, with my great grandmother. Each picture looks EXACTLY like I did at that age (13) in 1981. Gave me chills to realize that.

      April 5th, 2007 at 11:45 am

    12. LeslieAnn says:

      “God himself picks and chooses tiny filament threads to carry over from parent to child, from one generation to the next, binding us all together through the ages with the double helix of DNA or some other invisible something that is not yet known to man.”

      I loved this post…and sometimes it’s hard to understand why God chose to give Jack Down Syndrome, but I know that indeed God’s hand was all over that. He doesn’t make mistakes and we are all perfectly crafted according to Him.

      I love the pictures too. WOW!

      (I also nominated you for the award…I dare say you’ll be nominated A LOT!)

      =0)

      April 5th, 2007 at 11:53 am

    13. LeslieAnn says:

      “God himself picks and chooses tiny filament threads to carry over from parent to child, from one generation to the next, binding us all together through the ages with the double helix of DNA or some other invisible something that is not yet known to man.”

      I loved this post…and sometimes it’s hard to understand why God chose to give Jack Down Syndrome, but I know that indeed God’s hand was all over that. He doesn’t make mistakes and we are all perfectly crafted according to Him.

      I love the pictures too. WOW!

      (I also nominated you for the award…I dare say you’ll be nominated A LOT!)

      =0)

      April 5th, 2007 at 11:54 am

    14. BOSSY says:

      Like twins separated at birth. You are your own grandma?

      April 5th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    15. bee says:

      That’s just amazing! Looks like a stroke of mischief may run in the family!

      April 5th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    16. Jennifer says:

      I think I can see that little something impish behind the eyes. It’s uncanny, the resemblance.

      April 5th, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    17. boomama says:

      That made me cry. It’s one of the sweetest things I’ve ever read.

      April 5th, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    18. Suz says:

      This is the consolation that I give myself when I think about death. It’s good enough, I think.

      April 5th, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    19. Clare says:

      Absolutely! Uncanny….

      April 5th, 2007 at 5:50 pm

    20. Sharon says:

      When my grandmother was still alive you could get the three generations together and there was no question that we belonged. Now every once in a while I meet some one who says, “Your Judy’s daughter aren’t you?” Of course that is a honor- because i think Mom is beautiful.

      April 5th, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    21. Antique Mommy says:

      Sharon, What I find just as weird is that I have two older brothers and none of us three kids look anything alike and none of us look remarkably like either of our parents. I guess God drops a stitch once in a while in that great tapestry of life!

      April 5th, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    22. Roxanne says:

      Your ears were burning. . .my dear friend and I (both readers of yours) were discussing you tonight. She said, “That Antique Mommy is one you can count on for a laugh. And if she’s not making you laugh, she’s making you cry.”

      You did the latter tonight, and you summed up beautifully what I feel so often about the invisible thread that binds together generations.

      April 5th, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    23. sara - The Estrogen Files says:

      Oooh, you give me chills with this post! Thank you for the reminder that children ARE our immortality.

      April 5th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    24. Sally says:

      Thank you for sharing the pictures. Absolutely amazing and beautiful!!

      April 6th, 2007 at 8:29 am

    25. GiBee says:

      Honestly, I read “The Girl In The Sandbox” first, and when I clicked over to it, I saw the picture of you and Sean and thought to myself … Those two look so much alike! How adorable.

      And here you are posting about it!

      April 6th, 2007 at 10:08 am

    26. Terrific Teens says:

      I agree with “something in the eyes”. When my kids first went to school I was only working part time as a nurse so I spent the other days helping their teachers at school. I couldn’t believe how you could pick out a child’s parents just by something in their eyes. I couldn’t really figure out exactly what it was. I just knew who belonged to who by looking at their eyes.

      April 11th, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    27. emi says:

      I told you he looked like you!

      But then, I have trouble seeing the resemblance between my children and me. Funny how others can see clearly what we cannot.

      April 13th, 2007 at 1:07 am

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