When did we turn into our mothers?
Recently I cut all my hair off. I’d been thinking about it for a while, even though I’m really a long-hair at heart. My girlfriends are all so nice and say how flattering the new do is, how hip, edgy, etc. But then my daughter comes home and says, “Now you look like Grandma.” What she meant was that now she could see the resemblance between us in terms of the shape of our faces, etc. (I look more like my father). It’s OK. I don’t mind looking like my very attractive mother, even though she is 30 years older. But it raises the question, when do we turn into our mothers?
My mother has always been a feminist. She’s so smart and grew up knowing that she could do anything that a man could, and appreciated the feminist movement pushing that to the forefront in the 1970s. When Mom was 23 she took flying lessons. When she was 40 she went to law school. About 20 years later she was elected Mayor of Ladue, the St. Louis suburb where she and my dad lived, and where she still lives. The powers-that-be drafted her to run for the office after she wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper correctly predicting that the City of Ladue was wasting its money fighting a resident who had put a “No Blood For Oil” sign in her front yard. The city had a very broad No Signage ordinance, but as Mom pointed out, this was clearly a first amendment issue. The Supreme Court agreed in a 9-0 decision. (City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 1994.)
I did not inherit my love of cooking from my mother, who has always embraced every time-saving convenience on offer. Remember Instant Breakfast? That was my morning fare growing up, along with Pop Tarts. I, on the other hand, hate to buy anything when I can make it from scratch. Mom says, “For Ann, nothing is too much trouble, and for me, anything is too much trouble!” But as the years go by, I’m starting to see the wisdom in that, at least where Thanksgiving mashed potatoes are concerned.
The truth is, we do morph into our parents over the years, maybe beginning with the birth of our children. What was annoying or humiliating as teenagers (no watching TV and doing homework at the same time, no R-rated movies even though all your friends had already seen them) suddenly makes great sense. Maybe it is better to spend time with your friends and family over cocktails rather than slaving away in the kitchen trying to create the perfect meal. I definitely like my new short haircut, a look my mom has sported her entire adult life. Talk about no-fuss! And as I get older (and older, and older…) I am definitely more willing to voice my opinion and tell people when I disagree with them, something Mom is certainly not afraid to do. Just please, don’t draft me to run for public office!
So as we approach Mothers Day, take some time to appreciate your mom, and if she’s still around, thank her. Thanks, Mom. I love you!