Before sending Mack through the airport security checkpoint and seeing her off on her semester adventure in Spain, I planted a deep kiss on her sweet face. It was always my habit to kiss the large, dark freckle that sat up high on her left cheekbone. I loved that freckle. I had probably told Mack a thousand times how much I adored it. And so she was not surprised that my kiss that day was a little longer than the usual pecks I had given that freckle so many times before. It was an important kiss, after all, so I made it a good one; and Mack chuckled a little as my lips pressed in on her soft cheek. That was exactly one year ago today.
Mack’s freckled face is the first thing I think about every morning when I awake, and it is the last image I see before drifting off to sleep each night. I miss my Mack and her fantastic freckles, and it breaks my heart to know I will never kiss my favorite Mack freckle again. But those freckles always brought a smile to my face, and they possess that power still. So I can just stare at a particularly freckly photo of my girl and let her freckles bring a smile for which I am frequently so desperate; like today, twelve long months since I have seen those freckles in person.
Mack came from a long line of freckles. As my freckly father’s daughter, I have a variety of freckles across my nose, shoulders and knees, along with a rogue, light brown freckle on the bottom of my right foot. Mack’s father is covered in freckles, as are most of the members of the Irish McDermott clan. Yet Mack’s freckles were special; and they were truly as unique as she was. While she sported them on her knees and on her arms, freckles made their most spectacular appearance across her beautiful face, reflecting her impish nature and zany personality. By the time Mack was five or six, she had a face full of freckles, earned by playing hard for hours in the summer sun. Along with my personal favorite Mack freckle, there was a constellation of dark freckles from her left eyelid to her left brow, a heavy spray of assorted freckles across her forehead, and a unique parade of irregular freckles running between her nose and her upper lip.
Mack always accepted her freckles with humor. She named and pointed out her favorites, she sang songs about them, and she used them as fodder for her comedy routines. A “spotted monster,” she called herself. And while the term may have been an apt descriptor of her years as a terrible toddler and a wild, young child, it failed to illustrate the beautiful connection between Mack’s unique and delightful freckles and Mack’s unique and delightful self. The remarkable collection of freckles that beamed so brightly across her face was a window to her soul, and Mack appreciated that fact. She thought it was pretty damn cool that she possessed such an inimitable physical trait that so closely mirrored her one-of-kind personality. The freckles on Mack’s face told the world that she was happy and fun, that she was charming and silly, and that she subscribed to the believe that life was a joyous and witty adventure.
Now, when I look at the freckly photos of my Mack pictured here, I cannot help but remember my lost daughter as a happy and fun and charming and silly girl who enjoyed her time in the world. Memories of her good life, even on a day like today when I am missing her so keenly, warm my heart. Through those expressive freckles, I can peer directly into Mack’s soul, feel her presence in my life, appreciate the mark she made upon my heart, and allow a much needed smile to make an appearance on my sad face.
Mack’s freckles on Facebook…
Kimber, who was Mack’s good friend and high-school softball teammate, started the “macstachio” nickname, paying homage to Mack’s wonderful freckle moustache.