95: Mirror Magic

95: Mirror Magic

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Amazing Mom

Mirror Magic

Mirror Mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all.

~Author Unknown

I step out of the shower, dry off, and slip into my undies, then glance at the big mirror over the vanity. It’s then I realize that something strange has been happening in our house lately.

Whenever I look in the mirror, someone else looks back. I peer closely and shake my head. The person in the mirror is my mother, not me. How can that be? She has been gone for many years, but there she is. If I wave my hand, she waves right back. If I smile, so does she. When I frown, Mom scrunches up her face, too.

“Face it,” I tell myself. “It’s you in that mirror. It’s not the person you think you are. Ah no, you think of yourself as that redhead who flew across the college campus to classes and back to the dorm for meals and studying. You are the girl who left Chicago and went to college in a downstate teacher-education university. You are the girl who thrilled to be independent after living with a strict father who curtailed everything you thought to be fun and a mother who convinced him you should have more privileges. You are that young woman who fell in love half a dozen times in the four years of study time.”

I apply moisturizer and lean closer to the mirror. The woman with the circles under her eyes, the white hair and wrinkled neck is me. Dear Lord, when did it happen? When did I begin to look like my mother? I was minding my own business, going about my busy life, when Mom slipped in and waved a magic wand. Zap! You’re me. And without so much as an Alakazam!, the deed was done.

Next, I put on make-up. Not too much, just enough to enhance what God already bestowed upon me. That will help. I will be back in the mirror, not Mom.

First, a little foundation, then eyebrow pencil to help where my eyebrows have vanished, a bit of mascara, a light dusting of powder and blush, and finish with a lipstick. Look in the mirror again. My mother is still there. She looks better, I think, but it’s her, not me.

Where is the bride who walked down the aisle in a wedding gown and bridal veil? Where is the young mother who raised two babies using the wisdom her mother had instilled by example? Where is the thirty-something woman who attended dinners and conventions with her husband to help his career? Where is the mother of teens who fretted and fumed over many a late night, auto accident, and prom? She’s no longer in that mirror. All I see is the woman who raised me long ago, the one who gave me the foundation for all that I’ve done over the years.

It’s not such a bad thing, I think. My mother was a pretty neat lady, right up to the day she died. She passed on more to me than a physical resemblance. I have her sense of humor, love of reading, baking ability, and positive outlook on life. Suddenly, I am quite happy to look like my mother.

I straighten up, stand tall, and stare back at Mom in the mirror. We smile at each other. We share a secret. We both know that my daughter is going to look in the mirror one day and see me. I won’t tell her now. Let it be a surprise.

~Nancy Julien Kopp

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