As moms, we’ve all experienced this phenomenon at one point or another – your kid does or says something maddening, disrespectful or just plain gross and you respond with something you’ve heard pop out of your own mom’s mouth a million times – ‘if you keep doing that your face will freeze that way’ or ‘finish your food – there are kids starving in Africa (at which point I’d offer to send my food to the kids in Africa and that would start a whole new battle) and the hands-down worst ‘because I said so, that’s why!’ When that last one flew out of my mouth I looked around to see if my mother was standing behind me, I was so sure there was no way I would have ever said that – but there it was. It’s happened to all of us.
And I can live with that. I can even live with the fact that, sometimes, some of that stuff actually makes sense to me now (as in ‘one day, you’ll thank me’), and eventually my kid will probably experience this special joy with his own children. It’s the circle of life.
But I’ve reached a point in life where, not only am I channeling my mom’s words, apparently she’s broken out all over my face.
I’ve always borne a strong resemblance to my mom; growing up I bristled at the often repeated phrase ‘you look so much like your mother!’ echoed by family, neighbors, friends and strangers, which contrasted to mom’s quiet pride upon hearing this declaration. Like any teenager I wanted to have my own identity, my own unique look – not be a replica but more a combination of features that added up to a new edition in the family library, not a reprint.
My son, though, doesn’t mind his resemblance to me at all. I’ve heard history repeat itself with ‘oh, you must be S.’s mom – you two have the same smile/eyes/insert feature’. One day we were looking through some family photos and my son proclaimed in no uncertain terms:
“Mom, you look exactly like grandma; not grandma now, but a younger version of grandma. Like maybe when she was fifty.” (Full disclosure, I turned fifty a few months ago). And as I looked closely I couldn’t deny it any longer – I had to admit he was right. In words, features and probably so many other ways, the past collides with the present every day. As moms it’s up to us to capture the best of both worlds, crafting the next chapter as we each write our own imprint for the family library. Looking at my son just then I thought of another mom-ism, and I delivered it not with the threat it sometimes implies when moms utter it in anger, but with a promise for our future together as time winds its way inevitably forward:
‘When you have kids, I hope they’re just like you!’
You don’t know these folks, but can you spot the resemblance? Let me know in the comments!