Today I celebrated a late birthday with my family, and we looked through some old photo albums of my parents when they met and began taking photos of us as babies. People tell me I take after my Mother ALL the time – people who know us well, and people who don’t really know us at all. I always smile and say thank you, because my Mother is so beautiful, and I am really excited that I am going to look as pretty as she does in my 50’s.
There is one photo of my mother getting ready on her wedding day that I found particularly special: she is looking down and away from the camera, and you can see her wavy hair and her beautiful dress. The picture is a little out of focus, and it looks like it caught her mid sentence instead of mid smile. The back of someone else’s head is in the bottom left of the photo, someone walking by or who had accidentally stepped in the shot.
When you look directly at it, it’s a photo of my mother. But if you glance away, or look at the photo from the side, it looks just like me.
I’ve lived for 24 years and have spent those 24 years hearing people telling me that I look like her, but today was the first day that I realized exactly how much I really do. We have the same hair, eyes, cheekbones, and mouth. The angle of her face is the same that I have seen of myself in blurry photos, the ones that get deleted, the ones in between smiles and poses.
Then my Mom brought out my birth announcement: It’s a small card with pink print on the front that has my name, birth time and weight. The inside reads:
“‘There is an appointed time
for everything. A time to give
birth and a time to die.
A time to mourn and a
time to dance.’ Ecl. 3:64
In loving memory of my dad,
Charles Duvall Bingham,
who returned to heaven
January 18th, 1991.
His greatest joy
was his grandchildren.”
People talk about their family history, their inheritance, and their heritage. I have a difficult time relating, because my race and nationality are not particularly worthy of note. I have never climbed too far up my family tree because the branches I can see from here have been so captivating, I don’t feel the need to venture any farther. Sharing the name of my Grandfather and the features of my Mother are so inspiring, it is difficult for me to write about anything else.
For now, I am honored and humbled to be a part of such an amazing family, and getting to spend time with them while turning 24 has left me with memories and laughter The stories they tell me of my Grandfather who I have not yet met, and the pictures they share with me of his stories and smiles make me feel as if I had.