This is the face by which I will be remembered.
This is not the face I see when I think of myself. That face is younger, smoother, tauter, darker and so much less grey.
That's the ME which created the SHE who they see.
FlapJilly will never know the scurrying, go-on-forever, sure-I-can-do-that-with-you woman who was lost in 2011. She'll have lots of fun with the wait-for-Gramma woman who will take her to the park and throw rocks into the river and push her on the swings; of that I am certain. But I wish she could have hung out with me before bullets took my flexibility and my stamina.
TBG mourns the fact that I never really knew his mother. Nannie had her first cancer surgery while her son and I were on our first date. I met her when she was old; the cancer diagnosis changed her, he says. I knew her when she was in her recliner in the tv room. He remembers her pitching fastballs and swimming and whistling for him to come home with a blast heard 'round the neighborhood. That's the mom he remembers, the woman whose personality was unaltered but whose physical appearance said tired, worn-out.
I'm not afraid of aging; surviving perforation did that for me. My wrinkles and grey hairs are honestly earned. I'm proud of each and every one of them. But they are not what I see when I think of myself. I'm amorphous in my own mind, the reality bumping up against the pictures I conjure. I'm not surprised by the image in the mirror, but I do give myself a faux-face-lift sometimes, pulling my skin tight and seeing, for a moment, who I think I am.
Weird. Very weird.
Not, perhaps, as weird as how I am sure my parents always saw me: