Markers and Old Photos

A few months ago, my daughter Masana decided to name all the colors in her vast 100-marker collection.
At first it was something that was fun to do, but it slowly became an obsession in which she had to give the various permutations of each “plain” color an identity. Some names were simply made from combining two base colors, such as orange-yellow or yellow-orange. But there were others that required more thought, more introspection. Often, Masana could be found contemplating the natural habitats of the world as she tried to describe yet another damn green marker. And now, when she asks her little brother Mack to pass a certain green marker to her, she makes sure to identify it by its full name, so moss green would never be confused with dark seaweed green. 

Which brings me to my birthday and the matter of my historical identity. We spent Easter at my parents' place last Sunday, where we also celebrated my (eh-hem) 29th birthday. In addition to her regular “I couldn’t have written it better myself” Hallmark birthday card, my Mom put together a photo album of my old photographs and certificates. It was a slim yet concise volume of my life thus far, from the pre-k graduation certificate to candid high school prom photos to my wedding ceremony program. Masana and Mack were fascinated by the toddler and adolescent versions of me, complete with bad haircuts, bad teeth, and (egads) bad manners. The one photo of me throwing at tantrum at the base of the Statue of Liberty must have been a delightful inclusion for my Mom. ("Oh, you know, your mom was a screamer when she was your age," she would tell them. Argh.)

What really made me laugh were the photos that were NOT of me. Like the one of a girl riding her bicycle in the park—that would be my sister. Or of a girlish woman fishing at the edge of a beach—that would be my aunt, who is 22 years older than me. In both photos, the female in question has a pixie hairstyle and brown skin. 

Growing up, I’m sure that I had the same hairstyle, and plus we all share that constant Filipino tan. But while we are of the same flavor, we certainly are quite different from each other. If we were markers in my daughter’s collection, I’m sure she would never confuse the three of us!