I learned something about my face the other day.
I have this crinkle above my nose, which comes from looking at my husband like he’s nuts for the past 20ish years. I’ve been putting wrinkle cream on it for months now, trying to at least make it less noticeable, though I realize that being more sanguine all these years would probably have been a better strategy.
Come to find out, my crinkle is a family trait.
My mother pointed this out the other day, that my dad has the same crease right between his eyebrows, slightly offset to one side. She calls it his “scrowl.” It’s the product of over 70 years of deep thought, puzzlement, frustration, and general pigheadedness, and lo and behold I have the same scrowl in the same location on my own face.
Which stands to reason, as I am a good bit like my father, personality-wise. Sensible, opinionated, and intensely private, all things that I am to a somewhat lesser degree. Maybe in 30 more years I’ll be moreso.
My father comes from a long line of deep-rooted English Catholics, ancestors chased into America by a king who broke with the Church and discriminated against their kind, an imminently practical bunch who do not suffer fools gladly. For a couple hundred years it’s been like that with us. But it’s the in-laws, the ones who have married into the family, who have softened the lot of them. Where my dad is gruff and reticent, my mother is ebullient and chatty. I am a curious mixture of the two.
Which is why, I suppose, I hit upon the idea to say things to my family members that ordinarily they would not say to me or to one another. My New Year’s Resolution this year, as last year, was to tell my family members that I love them.
They rarely say it back to me, but upon leaving their company, when hugs are going around, I murmur those words to each of them. I know they feel it, too, but are unaccustomed to saying it, and that’s okay. My aunts and uncles are all getting older, quicker, these days. I want them to hear it from me. I want them to know, to have it spoken to them from my lips. Hugs on my father’s side of the family tend to be one-armed, too, and I give a two-armed hug when I tell them I love them. It’s my way of being the next generation of this family, of letting them know they matter and are appreciated. Older folks don’t always get told that.
My scrowl I get from the family. My love is what I give to them.