When I was a teenager, sitting around the adults and listening to them chat, I remember hearing them talk about turning into their mothers. Back in the day, I had no idea what they were talking, and then, laughing about. I think I reached the age of understanding what it meant to become your mother, when I was in my early twenties. I vowed not to let it happen, and I thought I was doing well in trying not to become her.
I love my mother, respect my mother and would not trade her for another. However, I have never had the desire to be my mother, or even to resemble her. But somehow, it has happened. I not only have managed to age to the point of looking like her, I catch myself doing and saying things she would say. I managed not noticing the metamorphosis happening for a long while, but finally it hit me when my husband took my dremel tool and broke it. I said it. I actually turned to him and said “I can’t have anything of my own.” That small sentence was, and still is, what my mother says when anything breaks or goes missing. I always hated hearing her say it and as I grew older, my siblings and I would laugh when she said it. The best memory of hearing her say those seven words, was back in the 80’s when my father somehow managed to mow down her entire flowerbed, he said he thought the flowers were weeds…and the rest is history.
At this point in my life, it may be too late for me, but I may be able to help those who come after me. I’ve come up with some guidelines to follow in the attempt of being true to yourself and not becoming your mother.
1. Never describe an old boyfriend as the One Who Got Away (both my mother and mother-in-law have one)
2. Never collect plastic bags, paper bags, or those twisty ties that come on bread packages.
3. Never buy, accept as a gift, or create yourself, a handmade anything that disguises toilet paper. You know what I’m talking about, you’ve probably seen those crocheted dolls that the toilet paper fits inside. (actually, my younger sister has a funnier story about one of those….our grandmother gave her one as a gift when she was 8).
4. When you turn 70, don’t tell anyone that you worked in the garden all day in the 90 degree weather, even though you’re not feeling well, because your children are busy with their lives and don’t have time to help you. The garden probably looks fine and at 70, there are more important things to take care of, like your health.
5. If you no longer can tell what color your refrigerator is, you probably have too many magnetic clips, notepads and picture frames on it. Now, go look at your refrigerator, what does it look like?
6. Don’t insist on buying glasses at the drug store, when you know you need a prescription lens, and don’t keep prescription glasses for more than 5 years. Although, in my mothers case, it’s 20 years.
7. Don’t ever, even if it is true, use the sentence “I’m on a fixed income”, no matter how old you are.
8. Don’t ever remind your children how you gave up your entire life for them, gave up your dreams, changed their diapers….and for what?
So, if you haven’t noticed any of the signs or symptoms, consider yourself lucky. Take precautions and keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully your luck will be better than mine. Be aware of your actions, and remember, she is probably waiting and hoping for the day you realize you have become her.
Now go out and do something your mother would never do, and then send her flowers.