In the 4th grade, you just look at a person, and see a person.
I arrived to read to my daughter's 4th grade class. As I walked in, I felt the gazes upon me and saw my daughter perk up and smile. I smiled at the class and said hello. That's when I heard:
"Woooow! Natalie looks JUST like her mom." (Then, echoes of agreements around the room.)
I felt instantly flattered, looking at my beautiful daughter who always wears a smile and has one of the most loving and cuddly personalities of anyone I have ever known.
Simultaneously, there was a twinge of wonder...did this bother my daughter? I remember that during my teen years, I didn't like being compared to my mom.
It is inevitable as her tween years are rapidly approaching--my daughter will also want to be her own person and will push away this kind of comment as she fights for her own independence. I am prepared for this time with my girl, but I am not looking forward to it.
I smiled and casually looked over at my sweet girl to see her reaction. And, she was beaming right back at me, apparently just as happy to hear the comment as I was. And my heart swelled a bit with the happy at that, I'll admit it.
I guess, in the 4th grade, you don't notice the extra few pounds your mom wishes weren't there. Or the wrinkles starting to crop up on her face. Or the hair that badly needs a cut and highlight. Or all the other things she often sees when she looks all too critically in the mirror each morning, as she realizes that time and her life is flying by entirely too quickly.
In the 4th grade, you only see the smile lines that you have too.
You see the same grin and same eyes. And, it makes you happy. Because that's your mom. That's your family. And, that's you.
In the 4th grade, you see her, and you see yourself.