When I found out I was pregnant with Olivia, I was overjoyed to be having a girl. In addition to hoping that we would have as close of a relationship as my Mom and I, I often pondered her looks. I hoped that she wouldn’t look like I did as a child. I spent years and years knowing deep in my heart that I was not pretty. My nickname was “Little Doug” until I was about 13 because I looked like a boy and resembled my father so much. I can’t tell you how many times I was mistaken for a boy. One time a mother yelled at me in the bathroom for being in the wrong one. I was wearing girlie clothes and earrings too. But I guess I really looked like a boy. My mom, who still hears about it, made me wear my hear super short. I had thick, unruly hair like Olivia, which is a recipe for morning disasters for single Moms so she waged a war against that battle and just chopped it off. I had bad acne too (starting at age 6) so the doctors thought that getting the hair away from my face would help. (It didn’t; 20 years later they finally figured out I have a hormone disorder. Go figure!) I was very tall for my age and very big. I was always told, in addition to the lovely “you look like a boy!” comments, that I was a “big girl”. Needless to say, I didn’t want this for my little girl. I remember being in elementary school and wishing so badly I could be my friend Lynn who was 4 feet tall and probably weighed 50 lbs soaking wet. Anything but me.
When Olivia was born, I didn’t think she looked anything like me. She was Matt all the way and that thrilled me. But I also wasn’t sure if it was because of her syndrome; maybe she wouldn’t look like any of us. That made me sad. There was a part of me that wanted her to look like me. Just not like I did as a kid. It would be ok if she looked like me now, but not like I did as a kid. As the years went by, I still didn’t think she looked anything like me. Gabe came along and looked identical to me. Which made sense, right? I looked like a boy and now my son looked just like me as a kid. I have to say I’m much better looking as a true boy. 😉 Matty came along and was the spitting image of his father. Identical. I felt a little left out. All of a sudden I really wanted Olivia to look like me. She was so beautiful and lovely…who wouldn’t want to take responsibility for that?
Then her 10th birthday came along and I was editing pictures. And it hit me.
She looks just like me.
And my heart felt like it would burst with happiness. I’m not sure why. But I just love, love, love it that she looks like me. Mostly though I’m so happy that she looks so well-loved and happy…and maybe that’s it…I’m happy with myself now and what I am inside and out…and now maybe I can also recognize that beautiful part of myself in her.