I was reminded of my mother — of my mother’s leg, and by extension, of my own. In Still Here Thinking of You, I wrote about a parallel incident of suddenly spotting the likenesses between my legs and my mother’s while glimpsing her rarely seen bare leg on a visit to her home: “Then it strikes me: this is my own leg.” In my story, I am momentarily sad.
Wood’s piece is about the ways we take on elements of our parents as a way of mourning them, even before they are gone. The habits, the turn of a phrase, the set of a brow: we go on about our lives, but our parents are there.
The sadness I felt in identifying my mother’s leg as my own certainly anticipated her loss, and the role that my leg will then have in embodying a part of her that no longer exists. It is a role that I — that we who are all partly our parents in one way or another — rarely think about.