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As I grow older I notice that my wife has those same looks that my mom does, and it scares me. I thought I had seen every look that there was to be seen, at least once. I have a mother, I have a wife, and for extra torture in my life God saw to it that I have a thirteen-year-old daughter whose face is ALWAYS twisted into some kind of look or another. Of course, I am wrong about knowing all of looks, but Iím ALWAYS wrong, and old and fat and baldójust ask my daughter. Or donít ask her; sheíll tell you anyway.
I know looks better than most folks, and Iím pretty good at calming down tense situations. Iíd even say that I am an expert. If a woman is sad, I can do a little cheering-up magic, or, at very least, just make her mad enough to want to kick me. Face it: Iím blessed. But problem with being an expert is that sooner or later youíll get humbled.
There is a certain look on a motherís face that a child will never see, and Iím glad for it. I saw it for first time other day at a funeral, and it nearly broke my heart. Children see all looks that a mother has to offer, except oneóthe one they wear when you die before they do.
I could find no words to speak to this woman, nor could my eyes find courage to stay off of ground. I wasnít alone in shadow of cowardice, which told me that she was. And though there were others who have shared her experience, she would remain alone. Time would healóthatís what preacher saidóbut nothing would be same. Everyone knows that.
As I consider my own fragile relationship with my mother, it is clear to me that this distance will ultimately separate us. Who of us, I wonder, will cross this void first? Never will I hold look that woman at funeral bore, for I know nothing of bond a mother feels between herself and her child, only that which a child feels for his mother. Is look that a child carries different from what I have seen? I do not know and do not wish to. Denial lends but weak hands where reality lives, yet softens its bitter edges none less.
Do I prepare myself for this face to come? Will being prepared enable me to avoid another slide down a wall into black? Perhaps, but I fear that this embrace may take me further into darkness that I hope to avoid.
If I listen to my heart, I know that there is but one path in this life. The path is of present, where I know my mother to be, and I will walk with her as far as trail leads. Anything else would be a lieóor perhaps a sinóif I did not appreciate what life has given me: my mother.
Vic Peters is the author of Mary's Field, a new Christian novel from Millennial Mind Publishing. More information is available at www.marysfield.com