Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A photographic memory, on Sally's birthday

Sally would have been 69 today -- almost 70! It's hard to believe.

Her birthday got me thinking about a mother's best quality: she knows exactly who you are. Down to your core, every ounce of your being, she's got you pegged. Whether you're sensitive, stubborn, a do-gooder... even though she may encourage you to adjust your behavior ("Oh, Missy, you just need to have a thicker skin"), she knows it's of no real use. You are who you are.

In ninth grade, my friend Heather took a photography class and asked me to be her model. I immediately said yes. (Having spent 90% of my teenage years practicing pouts and smiles for my imaginary Seventeen magazine cover shoot, I felt very prepared.) My favorite shots she took were of me with heavy eyeliner, wearing a vintage fur coat that had belonged to my Grandma Rose (my mom's mom) and looking very serious. I felt so glamorous.

When I showed the shots to my mom, she flipped through and said, "This one's my favorite." I felt sure it was the same one I liked. Wrong. This one was of me wearing a plaid collared shirt and jean overalls, with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup, smiling and staring straight into the camera.

"Mom, that's the one you like best?" I asked. "I look like a farmer!"

"No you don't," she said. "You look just like yourself."

I remember that now, as I think about how I want to look on my wedding day. With options for hair extensions, airbrush makeup, and big poofy gowns -- or even something as simple as a suggestion to dye the gray out of my hair -- I try to explain to people: "No, I just want to look like me."


  1. Such a lovely story, Marisa! I never did get the whole make-up thing, so I'm totally with you on that. You'll look lovely on your big day!

  2. I love it! I was just thinking of you this am, my mom had a friend pass away who left behind a daughter, I couln't help but think of you! I hope all is going well with wedding plans. Looking just like yourself, being yourself, will cut down on the stress level from all angles! Best Wishes, to my friend!!! You will be a beautiful bride...I just know it!