I have yet to meet a perfect person.
As I stand in front of the mirror, I know I am imperfect, too.
Despite what my mother saw.
She had me, her last child, at thirty years old.
I came out with hair that flowed in a color she yearned for.
I stretched and grew with a figure she had hoped for.
I navigated my world with easily good grades and plenty of friends and a cheerleading uniform that she never knew.
We were good, Mom and I. Nary a harsh word between us.
Then I got sick.
She took me to her doctor, blood was drawn for a battery of standard tests.
I had the flu.
Then, a week later, the mail came.
And she refused to look me in the eye.
I was befuddled.
Her shoulder was sharp and cold.
A bowl of cereal slammed down in front of me.
She’d leave the room when I came to sit by her.
I wracked my brain trying to figure it out, but I was simply a good kid. I did nothing that a mom could really complain about.
I begged her, Please, please tell me what’s going on.
You know what you did, she spat at me. And turned her back.
When she was at work, I rummaged around, looking for evidence.
And there it was.
The invoice from the doctor’s office, the blood work to ensure my flu was not Mono or anything else that might be worse due to my asthma.
A line item that stated: Pregnancy test, Negative.
When she came home and I confronted her, I don’t remember what she yelled at me.
But I remember confessing that I was a virgin. That I wasn’t an idiot. That I wasn’t going to do that for a long time. There were consequences of sex that I wasn’t ready for.
This made her even angrier.
At the time, I didn’t understand why my words made it worse.
It wasn’t the same between us for a long time.
She didn’t see my imperfections, the ones inside or out, when she looked at me.
She saw me as a reflection of everything she thought she wasn’t.
She saw me as someone she wished she could have been.
She saw me as her opposite.
Looking at me every day reminded her of how she wasn’t me.
Which wasn’t fair to either of us.
18 months ago she was diagnosed with cancer.
After her surgery to get the tumors out, I’ve never seen her look so beautiful. I choked on tears at how gorgeous she was. How she didn’t even realize it.
I’ve spent the past year and a half since putting many mirrors in front of her.
Showing her that she was a picture of beauty with hair or without, with a fancy wig or with fresh sprouts of silver regrowth.
I’ve marched my adorable children in front of her, pointing to their matching, sparkling blue eyes.
I’ve wrapped her in new clothes her size, showing that her scarred, aging body was strong and amazing and a sight to behold.
Today I look in the mirror on her birthday, seeing all the wonderful things my mom gave me 35 years ago.
Celebrating, because my mom, after 65 years, is finally starting to see herself as beautiful as everyone else has always known her to be.
Which makes me, and the imperfect girl in front of me, smile.
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This post was in response to The Lightning & The Lightning-Bug Flicker of Inspiration Prompt.
Objects in the Mirror
It’s a standard warning on car mirrors: “Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear”. Mirrors don’t always give a truly honest reflection. Sometimes, the mirror is warped; sometimes, it’s only our perceptions. When Alice went into her mirror, it was the world itself that was distorted. And yet at times, the mirror will show you true things that you weren’t aware of; something around a corner, or behind you, or on another spectral plane. People can even act as mirrors; they can show you yourself as others see you. In 800 words or less, tell us about something seen in a mirror.
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