Years ago, I’d watch certain actions by my mother with amusement and a tinge of disdain. Become obsessive about collecting coupons? Not me. Not ever. Amass a pile of shopping bags and plastic totes—just in case they’re someday needed? Nope. Too messy. Too old-ladyish. Spend the day after hosting a family dinner complaining of exhaustion and turning down invitations to go out? I couldn’t see myself letting a little cleaning, cooking, and serving get the best of me.
But that was then. Little by little these days, I see my mother creep into my persona. For example, we hosted a small family holiday celebration last night. My husband did much of the cooking, although I ran up and down the aisles of two supermarkets during the day, dusted, and dragged out the heavy dining room table pads and retrieved the better china. But I also got down on the floor several times to play and commune with my preschool grandsons, each time groaning my way to an upright position. Then came today. I feel as if I’ve been in a triathlon without any training. I ache everywhere, and all I want to do is sleep or eat leftovers.
Am I collecting coupons? Yes, I cut them from the Sunday paper flyers religiously. I also, nine times out of ten, forget to use them. So in that respect, I’m not my mother. In fact, she would berate me for paying full price while a 50-cents-off coupon languishes inside my purse.
And the shopping bags? I have them, in a dark corner of our master closet. You never know when you have something to tote…
But it isn’t just my mother’s habits wending their way into my psyche. Decades ago, I found my paternal grandmother’s frequent meal of cottage cheese topped with canned fruit a little sad and definitely a symbol of old age. But recently I developed a taste for this combination—if only as a snack.
I’m not going to fight this though. I am what I am, or rather, I am what I’ve become and will continue to become. This process has given me a new appreciation for the older generation. I’m sure my mother and grandmother and anyone else whose habits I’ve adopted would love to hear me say that … if only they were still around.