Am I Becoming My Mother?

Fumiaki-Hayashi / Unsplash

Source: Fumiaki-Hayashi / Unsplash

How far has the apple fallen from your family tree?

In imperceptible big or small ways, bits and pieces of our parents seep into our beings – in the smile reflected in our mirrors, in the voice we use to berate our children, in a knack for storytelling or love of children. mediums or sports.

When my son was in high school, one of the young girls in our carpool wore what I considered excessive makeup. I found it odd that eyeliner, face makeup, and thick layered lipstick were covering her face at 8:15 am until I met her mom. The girl was a duplicated version of her mother, looking defiant, more ready to go to prom than sitting in classrooms all day.

From time to time, you may come across physical characteristics, manners, or habits that you share with a parent. But the similarities can go much further, as the essays of 25 well-known writers like Ann Pachett and Jane Hamilton tell us in Apple tree: Writers about their parents.

A piece of the old block

“Children are not supposed to see their parents. If all goes well, a parent’s life is a secret and all the child sees is what he can count on; they see safety and don’t care, ”notes Sallie Tisdale, Apple tree contributor and recipient of numerous literary awards. Yet, as Tisdale herself notes, in profound adaptations or the simplest of expressions, our parents wonder whether we want it or not. It is almost inevitable.

For example, I’m obsessed with being late, a feature that I believe came from my mom who yelled at my brother and myself to “Hurry up, we’re going to be late.” when and where we go. It was not pleasant, and I cringe when I often shout the same words.

You can be adamant that you will not become your parent and work hard to achieve this goal. You might be concerned about what is passing through your family tree, perhaps melancholy or fears or abusive or aggressive behavior. It is human nature to try to avoid, reject, or ignore troublesome qualities, but what many of the Apple tree The authors observe that the most disturbing qualities can lead us to more compassion and understanding, both towards the parent and towards ourselves.

The apple does not fall far from the tree

As a child you “see” your parents as pieces of an apple flowing without you realizing it, and sometimes a trait runs deep before we notice it or take the time to understand it. how it happened. For example, in her reflection, “One Man’s Poison,” writes Kyoko Mori,

During my father’s lifetime, it never occurred to me that I was like him… I’m not a liar or a sexual adventurer… I chose not to have children so I didn’t have never had to worry about becoming a bad parent like my father, who oscillates between neglect and domination, indifference and rage … My father’s poison allows me to evolve in a world full of betrayals and failures without taking everything to heart.

It’s because she realizes, “I survived being his daughter by acting the way he did.”

On the other hand, you may welcome characteristics or habits that you consider to be positive – the adventurous spirit of a parent, generosity towards strangers, or love of food. In her essay, novelist and NPR correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates explains, “Our mother came from a long line of people who inherited what we have called the foster gene. Bates describes in detail how his in-laws, cousins, and other family members have the gene. I too inherited the Feeding Gene from my mother and grandmother; as Bates notes, “There’s always something to turn into dinner” for anyone who might arrive unexpectedly. Like the positives and negatives of our parents, “the foster gene will continue in my family long after I leave the earth,” Bates points out, as it does in mine.

What qualities or inherited traits have you absorbed from the people who raised you? Has their discovery changed your self-esteem? Your understanding of your parents? Your parenting style?

Copyright @ 2021 by Susan Newman


The best way for adult children and parents to communicate

How too close are mother-daughter relationships?

If you’d like to comment, please check out my Facebook page.

Leave a Reply