Oftentimes, especially during a tiff with my husband, I’ll catch myself asking, “what would she do in this situation?” or, worse yet, “Oh man, did I just do what my mom would have done?”
In the last two years, a lot of my growth has stemmed from recognizing some of the glaring personality traits my mom has and trying to apply the exact opposite to myself. Not out of spite or some need to make sure I’m “NOTHING LIKE HER,” more out of recognizing the hurtful things she habitually did that I never want to mimic. Minimizing others’ hurt feelings, for example. Demanding unwavering respect without offering any in return. Using emotional jabs to “win” an argument. Those kinds of things.
Granted, I know there are some personality traits I inevitably picked up from her – who hasn’t noticed that as they’ve aged they cock their head to one side just like their mom or chortle in amusement just like their dad? I have her height, her nose and her forehead. I catch myself fake-laughing like her. I say “Oh, uh-huh?” just like her when people say something I’m supposed to find interesting but I’m not sure how to respond.
But I’m talking the big stuff. The courage to admit fault. Keeping a cool head while discussing emotionally heavy subjects. Abstaining from a quick emotional jab and working toward a long-term solution instead. Those things I can affect. I can apply them to the loving relationship I have with my husband. Or anyone, for that matter. And I can teach them and so much more, including unconditional love and support, to my children.
I often wonder when she had me at 21 if she thought the same… and if so, what changed?