When Did I Become My Parents?
Because “birth control doesn’t work in the dresser drawer,” I am the youngest of four children. Eldest Sister recently asked me, “when did I become Mum?” Turning into our parents is just that insidious. Eldest Sister kind of did, but mostly didn’t turn into our mother, because she was rebelling against it for all she was worth while raising her own children. The result? Eldest Sister’s children will have different things to complain about. Poor Little Julien is an only child and I’m sad that he’s never going to be able to turn to a sibling and say, “Christ, Mum is nuts!” before moving onto “Oh god, I’m just like my mother.”
All in all, I had good parental units and I will admit to inheriting the following:
- a strong work ethic
- the compulsive need to correct people (genetics gets the blame)
- I am made of steel. It’s a mixed blessing, but good in a crisis
- strong sense of ethics and morality
- a sense of humour
As a Canadian Edwardian Protestant, it nearly KILLED me to say those things about myself. I have friends who will respond with embarrassed silence, or “if you do say so yourself,” when I have the temerity to say I’m good at something or I have done well. This is why I couldn’t write “good” or “great” in number 5. It would be bragging.
These are things I flail wildly against:
“I can’t be a perfectionist because everything isn’t perfect,” The Dowager Julien If it isn’t perfect, or I’m not perfect, it, and I, am a failure. This is one of the heavy lifting ones. It means that if someone compliments me, I compulsively point out the part that’s imperfect and therefore correct (see #2 above) their perception that I should be praised. Ta da!
The Dowager Julien isn’t a hoarder, but she is a saver. If the item has any potential use, she must keep it until either a. she puts it to use, or b. she can give it away in the most productive way possible. She can’t just donate things. They have to be donated to the right place at the right time. I’ve kept items tucked away for years because I was going to maybe use them or sell them online, or donate them to a specific charity sale. Yes, this way madness lies; moreover, it makes an excellent excuse to never actually clean anything out.Now, I just call the charity truck to GET IT OUT OF MY HOUSE! When I do this regularly, I look at things and think, “How is it possible this didn’t make the first cut?”
The saving impulse is part of a larger “This Is Mine That Is Yours” issue. The Dowager Julien will call randomly and ask if I saw her pink Tupperware bowl when I visited Canada nine months ago because she can’t find it; or, she’ll bring a pair of knee highs with her to New Jersey because “I found them in the house but they aren’t mine and I’ve already called everyone else and they don’t belong to them, so I thought they might be yours.” KNEE HIGHS! They weren’t, but I kept them anyway. It made her happy.
Are you becoming your parent(s)? Is that necessarily a bad thing?
Header Image: “Darth Vader and Son” by Jeffrey Brown