Accepting the inevitable
As mothers, we've all done it. We say something to our children that makes us cover our mouths in horror and think, "I sound just like my mother!!" And all of us can come up with a list of things our mothers said and did that we vowed we would never say or do. We all say, "I'm becoming my mother!", and we hate it. But not all of the things that our mothers did were bad (hopefully!), and there are definitely some things about my mother that I love, and would like to emulate. The point is that I definitely have my lists, and I would have said to you, with confidence, that I have fully explored the different influences my mother has had on me, and I have an excellent catalogue of known phrases, expressions, actions, attitudes, and body gestures that I can trace back to my mother, for good or for ill. Until yesterday. Yesterday a cousin I haven't seen for years popped into town, and we had her over for dinner. She was staying with my parents, so after dinner and some fun conversation, I drove her back to my parent's house with Jacob in tow. She and I gabbed in the car for another hour or so, and finally my mother came out to see what was going on. (I think she thought there might be a party going on in the car, and Mom just can't stand to miss a party!) I had long since let Jacob out of his car seat while I chatted, and he was bouncing all over the car with an umbrella he had found in the back seat, shooting at the bad guys with it out the back windshield (hey, if he's happy, I'm happy). My mom came over and peered into the car, and Jacob pretended to shoot her with the umbrella. Mom shot him back with her finger, and they started giggling at each other. We all got out of the car, and my mom picked Jacob up, who was still giggling at his silly Grandma, and she gave him a big hug, patted him on the back about 3 times, and said, "Oh, I just LOVE you!" I stared at her, thinking, "Hey, I do THE EXACT SAME THING!" complete with the length of hug and number of pats on the back. Clearly, I had learned it from her. Obviously, she had done the same thing with me as a child. This was not the disturbing part. The disturbing part I DID NOT KNOW I HAD LEARNED THAT FROM HER! I mean, how am I supposed to guard against becoming my mother if I don't even know what parts of me came from her? Are we all fated to become our mothers, despite our best efforts? Where does she end and my own identity as a mother begin? Aack! Of course, if my mother is reading this (which I doubt--she's a very busy lady, and if she has time to spend on the computer, she'll use that precious down time to play Spider Solataire, thank you very much), she would say to me, "Well, what's wrong with becoming your mother, huh?" Actually, not much. My mother is a wonderful woman who was a spectacular mother. Still, it would be nice to think that I had some control over my life. Oh, wait. Sorry, for a second I thought I was an alternate universe. Oh yeah, that's right. All control over my life was lost the second I gave birth. For a second I forgot. Did I get that from my mother?