Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Becoming Your Parents
Remember, when you were a little kid, vowing NEVER to do THAT with your kids when you grew up? As it turned out, I had no children so I didn't get to test that particular pledge but there are a other ways I seem to have turned into my mother. Some are mildly interesting or amusing and others, I don't like at all.
I never thought I looked anything like my mother until a day about 15 years ago, five years after she had died. I was walking along the West 58th Street side of Bergdorf Goodman in New York and caught a shadowy image of myself reflected in a show window.
“What's my mother doing here?” I thought for a second. I spent a lot of time when I got home looking at my face in the mirror and worked out that it was the lower half of my face that looked so much like her. It still does. And for better or worse, I still wish that were not so.
My mother and I shared a great love of sexy, high-heeled shoes. Maybe I got that from her too. I was shocked when I visited her when she was in her early 60s to see her in a particularly unattractive pair of white, flat sandals. How could she? I mean those shoes were ug-glee.
As far as I could tell, she never wore high heels again and I resented that. I vowed (shades of childhood) that I would never give up three-inch heels. One day nearly 12 or 14 years ago as I got dressed for work, I slipped into my gorgeous sexy high heels and when I walked into the kitchen, I nearly passed out from the pain in my feet.
I knew I couldn't get through the day in those shoes, so I found a pair of scruffy old flats and hoped no one would notice. I tried every morning for a long time to get into a pair of high heels and never could again.
Sorry, Mom, for thinking you were such a fashion dud in your old age. I finally understand.
She was independent to a fault - “I'll do it myself!” - and that made her hard to get along with a lot of the time. And guess what? She taught me from the cradle to rely on myself for just about everything. And that makes me hard to get along with a lot of the time.
However, as she got older, she backed off sometimes and let others help out. And so I find myself doing that now too – just a little so far.
As I was getting wound up for a long list of this stuff, I decided to check around the web to see what others may have said about turning into our parents.
It didn't take long until I ran across a fabulous and funny take on the topic at the humor site, Cracked. An article there titled, 7 Scientific Reasons You'll Turn Out Just Like Your Parents, begins with this lead-in:
”Old people are cranky, slow and boring. Kids are noisy, restless and irritating. For most of us, life is about making sure we stay as awesome as we are right now...
“Well, science has some bad news for you. The behaviors of the elderly that you write off as old-person lameness, and your behavior that the elderly credit to dickish rebellion, are all based in biology. And no, you can't stop it.”
Ha! No way can I do any better than that about becoming my mom. So here's what else Cracked says:
Of the seven reasons, I disagree only with number 3: "You Will Stop Trying to Change the World (If You Are a Man)" although the explanation refers only to men so maybe that explains why I keep tilting at windmills.
The other six reasons are equally plausible and equally funny:
- Your Brain Will Stop Getting Pleasure from New Music
- The Physical Urge to Rebel Will Fade Away
- Your Brain Will Start Getting Pleasure from Boring Shit
- It Will Become Physically Impossible to Sleep In
- You Will Find Yourself Eating Bland Food, Because You Can't Taste It
- Your Memories of the Past Will Become "The Good Old Days"
You should go read the whole article by Michael Record. You'll recognize yourself in a lot of it and I promise it will make you laugh. After you've done that, come on back here and tell us how you are like your parents – or not.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Myopia