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Beacon Senior News

So you’ve turned into your parents. Now what?

Jun 25, 2020 02:51PM ● By Melanie Wiseman

In our younger years, we scoffed at the idea of becoming like our parents someday. We made it our youthful mission to avoid anything remotely resembling them. For all of the years we spent attempting to be independent and avoid the inevitable, the prophecy has most likely come true.

Sometimes we still try to fight it. I’ve heard countless women say, “If I ever do such and so like my mother, please tell me so I can stop!” Needless to say, they do it now, too, and as good friends, we stay silent so they can save face.

Taking on the characteristics, vocal inflections, habits and looks of our dear parents is part of who we are. While some inherited features are less desired, what if instead you focused on the positive attributes you were gifted?

As a kid, it drove me crazy when my dad said, “Life isn’t fair.” I was upset and I wanted his sympathy, not something that felt like a brushoff at the time. But he was right, and now I find myself saying the same thing. Basically, stop whining, put on your big girl pants and figure it out. At the time, I didn’t realize he was helping mold four children into strong, resilient adults.

With my parents now in their 90s, my sisters and I sound so much like my mom on the phone that my dad can’t tell us apart. My husband says all the women in my family also share the same subconscious sigh of contentment. He added that I laugh like my mom, which I never really thought about, but I guess I do. I love my mom’s laugh.

When I look down, I see her aged hands in mine. The same hands that taught me to sew, knit, crochet and create.

Sue Springer, 69, and her mom won second place in a mother-daughter sorority lookalike contest during her sophomore year at Colorado State University. Fifty years later, Springer does a double-take in the mirror each morning and is tempted to say “Hi, Mom!”

“It’s not a bad thing,” she said. “We were also good friends, and I like that we share a lot in common.”

From the way he cocks his baseball hat to the way he holds his mouth when he eats and drinks, Sue added that her husband, Bill, 72, is a carbon copy of his dad.

“When we were younger I said to Bill, ‘Can you picture my mom married to your dad? Because that’s going to be us someday.’ It’s uncanny,” said Sue.

Lucky for Sue, Bill adored her mom.

Getting stuck on trying not to be like our parents can lock us in the past. Instead, forgive them and move on. You are not identical to them. Just because you may be like them doesn’t mean you are them. Try focusing on your own values and who you want to be while enjoying the good stuff.

READ MORE ARTICLES FROM MELANIE WISEMAN.