The other day it hit me. Like a ton of bricks. I am my mother’s child.
But not only am I my mother’s child, I am becoming my mother. My actions, my complaints, my speeches – all ones I was witness to growing up. I now completely understand my mother’s phrase, "When you have a child someday you’ll understand." Yes, Mom, I get it now.
What brought about this earth shattering epiphany in my life? When I caught myself giving my son a speech during dinner not so long ago. He didn’t finish his dinner and was complaining he was full (but you can bet your bottom dollar the moment I brought up dessert or snack time he would have been all about it.) I found myself saying to my child, "There is some little hungry child in the world right now who would do anything for what you are about to throw away," and on and on....and on.
Suddenly I stopped, looked at my husband and said, "Oh my God, I have turned into my mother." Which doesn’t mean much to him since lately he has been saying, "I can’t believe it! I am turning into my dad!" Apparently ladies and gentlemen, it works both ways.
Not long after this dinner time expose I noticed that I was saying other token phrases to my young son such as, "Shut the fridge door, you’re letting out the cold!" and "If your friend jumped off a roof would you jump too?" Or, "Close the door. Were you born in a barn?" And last, but not least, "An...Ty...Ma...Toby, which ever child you are – come here!" (The interesting note here is remembering his name should not be a problem – he is my only child.)
Now, prior to this, I had said the usual parental phrases of "Don’t you make me pull this car over!" and "I brought you into this world – I can take you out." I did not think much of it because I had overheard other parents telling their children these phrases. What I did not realize was that this is how it begins. There is an evolutionary process in becoming your mother or father.
First, you must give birth. Second, the children must be as you were when you were small. Remember that choice phrase, "I hope when you have children someday they are just like you!?" My mother sits back and secretly laughs in delight now, I just know it.
Third, you must be overworked, tired, cranky, moody and frustrated. This should not be hard if you have a family and work full time. Then, you start by saying the things your parents used to say. And then one day, you wake up and you actually are them. I’m not even 30 and somehow I have as much gray in my hair as my mother (Thank God for Clairol!) My taste in clothes is becoming more conservative. I cannot believe what I am seeing on television and in music videos. The clothing that teenagers, particularly young girls, are wearing make both my husband and I do double takes.
Oh, and why I am on this subject, these children do not just magically acquire this clothing. Parents actually have to purchase it. So please pray tell, why would you put your 12-year-old daughter in a skirt that barely covers her behind? See, I told you, I am becoming my mother.
But then I think, maybe becoming my mother isn’t such a bad thing. I mean, I turned out pretty well didn’t I? I always make sure my son is well taken care of and lacks nothing. I am a good mother, a good person, and a good wife. I am a sympathetic listener to all complaints. I care about the world as a whole and so on. I impart my good morals and values on my child, as my mother did.
So maybe I should not be concerned with becoming my mother, but should rejoice. Because if I turned out okay, I guess my boy will turn out okay too. After all, it’s my mother and her mother’s advice that just filters down through the ages. I can’t wait until my son has a child just like himself – then I will sit back and laugh hysterically. What goes around, comes around.