How She Sees Me

When our eyes meet, she smiles. Two artists sitting across the table from each other, scribbling hard, both telling stories.

Her assignment: draw the face of a family member, and I’m happy she picks me. I’m honored to be her muse.

“Don’t yell at me if you look hideous,” she warns as we get started.

But when her eyes widen, when she twirls that strand of hair between her fingers and rubs it against her lips, I know she’s focused. I know she’s in the zone.

I try to keep still, try not to be a difficult subject, but I can’t resist moving my pencil, too, jotting down details to remember later. How she sometimes rests her chin on the sketch pad. How she raises her right eyebrow and smirks when she likes what she sees. How she’s wrapped in purple and pink and peace signs.

“I can’t get your smile quite right,” she confesses and bows over her tablet, furrows her brow and erases hard.

She tilts her head, takes another look, then says, “but I think I solved the problem of your droopy eye.”

And I wonder how she’s fixed in five minutes something that’s plagued me all my life, how she’s managed to smudge out my flaws.

She puts down her pencil, flips over her handiwork, and I come face to face with myself.

How She Sees Me

“I made you look young,” she says, hoping I approve.

And I laugh wildly, remembering what her younger sister said just a few days ago when she found an old wedding picture.

“Mom, you look just like you did when you were a teenager.”

And I think they must not notice the gray hair. The crow’s feet. The sagging skin. All the things the magazines say should scare me.

But I’m not scared. I’m not afraid of the signs and scars that made me the woman I am today.

And I smile at my portrait and the artist that made me a mother, and I tell her nobody’s ever drawn me so beautifully.


  1. Donna Gutknecht says:

    I love the way you see…and the way you write… Oh, so beautifully!

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