When I first saw your face, it was red and angry–your eyes squeezed tight and your mouth opened wide as you screamed your dissatisfaction at being pulled from the only home you had known for the past nine months.
Later, while you slept peacefully in my arms, I saw your dimple for the first time. The same one that graces your daddy’s face. “Dimple on the chin, devil within,” my momma told me.
With your first smile, I discovered new dimples, and would soon learn they were the tell-tale sign of your “true” smile–not the one forced for the camera with a pleading, “Say cheeeeese!”
Your nose came from me, your hair, much to my regret, came from your dad. No ginger-haired baby boy for me.
Around age four, I spotted your first freckle. At first, I scrubbed at it, thinking it to be just more playground dirt. But it stayed, and then I saw more and more and still more, until I realized they spread across your nose and cheeks just like the ones I see when I look in the mirror.
For seventeen years, I rejoiced at seeing that face every morning before you headed to the bus stop, every afternoon when I came home from a long day at work and every evening at bedtime.
Now, with you so far away, I must rely on pictures–the ones on my desk, on my computer, on my walls and in my head. The ones with the true smile that lights up your eyes and crinkles your face with the appearance of those dimples, the ones with your teeth clenched in a “cheese” smile, and the ones with a goofy face meant to disappoint the photographer, but which only make me smile more.
For now, the images of that face will have to do. They make me smile when I miss you, laugh when I’m feeling blue, and bring you closer to my heart when my arms ache to hold you close.
These images will help me get through the next 42 days until I see your face again.
Miss you, my sweet boy. Hurry home.
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