My Father In The Mirror
Growing up, one of the things of which I was keenly aware was that I didn't look much like my father. In the face anyway. My Asian facial features, black hair, and jawline were all clearly from my mother. In fact, if it weren't for a tall, thin frame and big hands with long, slender fingers, you would have been forgiven for questioning my provenance. My father and I had a complicated and not altogether positive relationship before he passed away in 1995. But time has helped me forgive him of his real and perceived shortcomings, and ironically has physically transformed me in my middle age into a surprising resemblance of him. My hairline, nose, ears, the way my weight is distributed on my frame -- all of it has morphed into a Dad-like look. I see it and so do my relatives. Sometimes, when I have a fresh haircut (he kept his hair cut short assiduously) I will catch a peripheral glance in the mirror, and I'll see my Dad. Then I'll look directly at the reflection and he's gone; it's me again. I like to think that he sometimes visits me in the mirror when he thinks I'm not looking. With two young boys of my own, it reminds me to be the father that I wished I'd had; to cut my Dad some slack for not being that guy; and to hope that I've gotten close enough to the mark that my kids don't have to wait until I've been gone for 20 years before they can appreciate our relationship.