The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, May 29, 2009


A Thing of Beauty

Slipping into my warm morning bed, Aubrey wraps herself in the afghan her great-grandmother made and sucks her thumb.

Once settled, she studies my face.

After awhile, she reaches for the bridge of my nose and points: “You have a dot here; it’s brown.” Moving her finger lower, next to my nose, she says, “And a dot here above your lips; that one’s almost the same color as your skin.”

She studies me the way lovers study each other, the way I study her father, tracing the details of his skin -- the marks along the cheekbone, the spine, the shoulder blade, the ankle, forming the Big Dipper that wraps his body.

Aubrey looks at me with such love and familiarity that I recall studying my own mother’s face closely when I was 4. I had pointed to the brown dot in the middle of each of her cheeks -- the perfect symmetry of her marks.

“What are those?” I’d asked.

“They’re moles or freckles," she said. "Some people call them beauty marks.”

I looked hard for a moment and decided, “I’ll call them beauty marks,” caressing her face, drinking her in.

Later, on pink construction paper for her Mother’s Day card, I would draw her dark curly hair, her square jaw, her brown eyes. Her features were stark contrasts to my own straight blonde hair, my oval face, my hazel eyes, but when I drew the sure brown dot on each cheek, with those distinguishing marks, she was, unmistakably, my mother.

Now I look into Aubrey’s face and memorize her little marks: below her eye, next to her nose, above her lip, across her face on the other side of her chin. I think: Little Dipper.

And Dane, my boy, who, at 5, tells me his “mole marks” are actually made by raccoons, I memorize his, too: at the outer tip of an eyebrow, next to his nose -- on the opposite side of his sister’s -- on his cheek, and then up and across his face at the corner of his eye. I think: Orion.

My own little constellations.

At my yearly physical, the doctor checks my skin, the marks on my body. She looks for the mark that might not belong, because our moles grow in families, she says. Wherever there’s one of a certain kind (in color or shape or size) there’ll be another healthy one somewhere.

That’s how we know what belongs.

I think of my mother, my husband, my children. I line up our faces side by side in my mind. I think of these families of moles, passed down or claimed among generations, our raccoon marks to memorize and recall, our own little constellations hailing from the same sky.

By Anjie Reynolds

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Great writing Anjie. I love the way you bridge a generation with the conversations you had with your mom and then with your daughter. It's very well done - very smart!
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