She looks like me! It was my first thought when I saw the little face still spattered with the stuff of child birth. My heart swelled with love.
I have rarely been able to recognize family features in a newborn baby, peering at each feature as someone calls out, “he has his father’s nose”, or, “her eyes are just like her mother’s”.
I once truly saw a child who was the spitting image of her grandmother. But that is the only baby I have ever recognized at first glance, until now.
I must admit to being pleased. My two older daughters had mostly looked like little wrinkled, crying babies when I first saw them, one with blonde hair, one with dark, both beautifully perfect, but otherwise no distinguishing features. Most everyone else saw their father’s side in them, and as they grew I too recognized his features emerging. Which is not a bad thing, they are both beautiful, but there was a little thrill in knowing that this one, without question, looked like me.
And so it began, the constant comments on the resemblance between us. As she grew, it only increased. When the one feature she could really claim as her own, her straight blonde hair, began to curl in fourth grade, her fate was forever sealed. She was utterly dismayed at the curly hair and increasingly irritated at the comments that came her way, “You look so much like your Mother.”
While walking in the mall one day a woman, who apparently could not contain herself, stepped into our path and exclaimed, “You two look so much alike!”
We looked at each other, then at her, and said, “Yup,” in perfect unison. We walked on down the mall, arms linked, laughing. Occasionally she still laughed about it.
In Junior High a flat iron came into her life and she learned how to straighten her beautiful curly hair. Finally! A way to change the way she looks. In her excitement she foolishly offered to straighten my hair and show me how to use the tool. Now I occasionally straightened my hair as well.
We had also developed an uncanny knack for choosing to wear the same colors. Frequently we would meet in the hall as she emerged from her bedroom looking like the identical cousins from the old Patty Duke Show, dressed in the same colors, hair styled the same. With a screech she would declare that she had decided to wear green first. That seemed a little unreasonable, but she was certain, as 13 year olds tend to be.
While helping me clean up the church kitchen one Sunday a lady happened in and cheerfully commented, “You look so much like your Mom.” When she was gone the stewing pot boiled over. Hands clenched, brow furrowed, my daughter, who at that moment I’m sure did not look anything like me, declared, “I can’t stand it anymore!! If one more person says how much I look like you I don’t know what I’m going to do!”
“Sweetie, it can’t be that bad,” I soothed. Actually, I thought I looked fairly attractive that particular Sunday and encouraged her with a chuckle, “It could be worse.”
She looked distraught, “Mom, seriously, how would you have liked to know what you were going to look like when you grew up?”
I suppose that would depend on how I was going to turn out, but clearly she was not expecting the best. I just shrugged and she went away looking glum, contemplating her fate.
That afternoon she came up from her room looking happier, relieved almost. Leaning on the counter
she said with a smile, “Well Mom, there is one good thing about knowing what you are going to look like when you grow up.”
I smiled, relieved, “What’s that Sweetie?”
“You know the things you need to change.”
Looking back on that moment, I think of Jesus, Who wants us to look like Him and Whom I want to look like as I grow up.
I hear Jesus saying to me, “You know the things you need to change.”
2 Cor.3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.