June 20, 2008

Model mom

In the end, it all began with my my dead mother. She actually wound up making the decision about my facelift. I made the phone call that set things in motion a few months after she died, but her imprint was unmistakable.

My mother had died on May 1, 2001, at the age of 91. Silvia had been beautiful as a young woman, an occasional model in her native Manhattan, tall and slender with a "horsey" build and fabulous cheekbones. She loved wearing expensive clothes and elaborate hats and striking jewelry. She CARED about the way she looked.

From the time she had hit her 50s, she had talked about getting a facelift. She wasn't blessed with good skin, she had always been an outdoors girl and to hell with the sunscreen, and it all caught up with her. She wrinkled early and deeply, her skin lost its elasticity, and the flesh above one eye drooped so much on one side that it looked like she was perpetually squinting. Sometimes she would ask me, "If you had to choose, which would you preserve after 40, your face or your figure?" I didn’t think about it much, having neither an exceptional face or figure to preserve. My mother didn’t have to make a choice: her figure remained lean and model-like until the day she died.