By “Unknown Mami”–My mother’s face has always been beautiful, not just to me. She has always been the kind of beautiful that people notice, the kind of beautiful that opens doors, the kind of beautiful that you can trade on, but to me that beautiful face has always been the one I looked to when I needed the kind of comfort that only a mother can provide.
Awhile ago, my mother’s face started slowly disappearing. At first it was not as obvious to others as it was to me. It started around the eyes.
The skin around her eyes was permanently tattooed so that she would always appear to have eyeliner on. Most people didn’t know because they’d never seen her without make-up.
But I had, I had the distinct and rarely granted pleasure of seeing that beautiful face without make-up, until one day I didn’t.
The eyes kept changing. I never knew if I’d be looking into pools of blue, or hazel, or green, but I knew I would rarely see eyes so dark brown that they are almost black.
I knew that those soulful gorgeous eyes of my childhood would no longer be what I gazed into when I looked at the beautiful face of my mother. Instead I would be forced to look at an artificial color created by a contact.
It didn’t stop there. One day she came to visit and when I saw her face I started crying!
Ridiculous tears of a child in her 30s throwing a tantrum because the lips that had kissed boo-boos away, that had sung off-key, were now inflated to absurd proportions.
Now, I have no idea what my mother’s face will look like the next time I see her because she has had elective surgery to remove what she considers the ravages of time.
I’m losing that beautiful face! I actually ache over this loss, I cry, I complain, I mourn. I know it is her face to do with as she pleases, but why can’t anyone understand that THAT face is mine too.
No one asked me if I was willing to say goodbye to that face. I will always miss that face.
Unknown Mami is a bilingual Latina mother, wife,and actor in my late 30s who lives with her husband and daughter, “Put Pie,” in San Francisco. She has her own blog entitled “Unknown Mami.“