At a certain point you come to the realization that your behaviors and traits are creepily familiar and then you realize….cue the organ music…you have become THEM! Yes, we are, at times, much like our parents. The genetic matter is usual obvious in our appearance. I was mostly told that I resembled the paternal side of his maternal side of my father’s side of the family. Of course, my mother remarked that I was very much like her mother and had similar behaviors. To me it was a crap shoot. I decided long ago that I didn’t want to be like anyone else. I wanted to be myself, my own person. There were things my mother would do that my sister and I found completely annoying. We would remark to one another “there she goes again” and silently promise one another that if we ever behaved like that, the other one would have to kill us.
For several years my sister took pleasure in finding birthday cards that essentially said “Happy Birthday. Another year closer to looking like mom!”. We would laugh out loud but silently I knew that although I didn’t look like her, I was beginning to act like her and him. I started with my father’s puns. They were awful. Mine are pretty bad. He would laugh at his own clever jokes and puns. Whereas he got the gold, I only achieve the silver…but give me time. His words would become my words and slowly I would give him the credit, long after he had died and start many stories or sayings by remarking “as my father would often say”. I will say things like “tomorrow is already today” and comment on the “haves and the have nots”. My father was an almost PhD in economics and quoted Malthus and his theory of population. I realize that I listened to his commentary on economics and slowly embedded it into my understanding.
My father found joy in small things like nature and music and perhaps that is part of my inheritance. My FHB and I took a ride to Cape Cod yesterday because although it was quite cold, it was sunny and bright. I drove and turned to him and said “I have a million things to do at home and yet this is what I want to do”. I felt my father looking over my shoulder and telling me not to drive so fast.
My mother has much more insidiously “invaded ” my days. She baked for the world. She showed her caring through cards and brownies. She remember things that people might have told her once. She crocheted baby blankets as much for the new babies as for herself. It made her believe that she would be remembered for a long time. She never said those words, but it is my thought when I crochet a blanket. She could be silly and embarrassing. I am silly and embarrassing. She liked her alone time. I write at night alone with my thoughts.
They were not perfect but perfect for one another. My FHB told me shortly after his mother passed away that he made a conscious effort to remember those moments about his mother that were positive. He knew that she was difficult, but also knew that she cared about him, in her way. My parents and I did not always agree on how to do things. They had a lot of shoulds and oughts. I certainly have those threads but try hard to be aware that in parenting, I need to let things happen organically and allow my children to find their way. At times, while growing up, I felt that I could not or perhaps would not meet their expectations. They were stubborn. I am stubborn. They are with me every day. I can’t avoid a memory. I am their child.