01/16/2013 03:45 pm ET

Face To Face With Mom In The Mirror

It happens when you least expect it. You look into the mirror just as you’ve done every other day since Year Zero, but today your mother is staring back at you. The face you didn’t intend to inherit, the waist you would never allow to be altered by time, the expression of the lip or eye that echoes a familiar face, not yours, is right there in front of you.

My mother was “black Irish”; I’m a “ginger.” She was Scorpio skinny; I’m Cancerian round. No one ever told me I looked in the least like her, and yet there she was, freed by the genie of middle age to haunt me. I didn’t in the least expect her, or think that seeing the morph would make me understand her better, forgive her more easily, wish I could tell her how it changed things. It did. Let me explain.

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