Today, for the first time, I looked at my mother. Really looked at her. I've been watching her for years. I know her habits, the way her face slackens when she's mad. I watch the way she is in the world and I know who she is, what she feels like, how she smells; but until today, I couldn't have told you what she looks like. She is beautiful. Breathtaking. It's Christmas and the house is warm, glowing, smells like food. We had company and she was flitting about, kitchen to couch, apron wrapped around her fancy dress. No stockings or shoes. She was waving her arms, twiddling her fingers around her wineglass, rubbing her feet together, always in motion. Her face slid so easily into a smile, creases outlining her happiness. Strong features: a big nose, defined chin, high cheekbones, easily visible because of her short hair. My mother is not a small woman, nor is she big, but she stands tall with broad shoulders, mine now the same, and her presence is colossal. I could see the 20 some year old that my father fell madly in love with. Gorgeous. Strong. But at the same time, so soft. Every part of her nurtures. I sat in awe, stunned that I had not noticed that she was once so much more than Mom. Still is.