I am not my mother

momandmeToday’s post was inspired by the Daily Post’s writing challenge: Golden Years. This week’s challenge was to come up with a response to “What does age mean to you?”

I have to admit that, until recently, I didn’t think about aging at all. I joked about it, but it didn’t really bother me – probably because I’ve never looked (or acted) my age. When I was younger, I looked older than I was. I never needed a fake ID, because I never got carded. Then I turned 22. Once I was old enough to drink, they never stopped asking for a photo id.  My favorite “Older than she looks” story happened when my husband and I went to brunch for my 48th birthday. The waitress took a look at my driver’s licensed and gasped “OH MY GOD!” I’d like to believe that her response was because I looked 29, and not that she was afraid I’d drink too many mimosas and fall and break my hip.

Motherhood changed things. When I look in the mirror, I look the same (one of the benefits of having poor eyesight). I don’t seem to be aging, but my daughter is. She will be fourteen this month. I’m not quite sure how it happened. It feels like I had her two years ago. My theory is that Mom years are inverse dog years (two mom years = fourteen RT years), but my grant hasn’t come through, so I haven’t been able to fund the testing to prove it.

The fact that my baby has become a teenager overnight is not the only reason that I have become acutely aware of my age. I have reached an age where my occasional church visits are more likely to be related to funeral services than weddings. There’s nothing like a funeral to make you face your own mortality. I look at my life, and think “How can I be halfway through my life when I’ve only just begun?”

“Not halfway through.” A voice whispers to me.

I smile in relief.

“Not halfway through,” the EIC sneers “your mother was only fifty-seven when she died.”

When my mother died, fifty-seven seemed old. She’d had a good life – with kids grown and married and thirty-three years with a husband who was ready to retire. Nineteen years later, with fifty-seven just a handful of years away, it feels much too young to go.

Intellectually I understand that we are two different people with different health histories, that her passing has nothing to do with the length of my life, and yet I’ve come to dread each birthday since hitting the big 5-0. I feel myself counting down to fifty-seven, trying to prepare my daughter to become a strong, independent, fearless woman. Trying to prepare her to ride the rollercoaster of life with hands in the air and a laugh that can be heard in the next room, just like my mom taught me.

Huh. Maybe I AM my mother after all. meandlna

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24 responses to “I am not my mother

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  3. What beautiful photos! And a terrific response to the challenge as well. And I know just what you mean about this feeling that genetically history will repeat itself. My dad had his first heart attack at age 38. Every year since, I sort of feel like I’m “borrowing time” without clutching at my chest. It’s a very scary sensation. Didn’t you do something about that EIC yet? Like my “Write Way to Die” post, Let EIC be the one who sneers for the very last time!!

    • I keep trying to kill off the EIC, he’s a slippery bugger! Thank you for the compliment on the photos. The picture of my mother is a copy of a copy, but I love it even so.

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  5. Come on, give yourself more credit! Though I cannot lie: “I look the same (one of the benefits of having poor eyesight)” was pretty hilarious. Beauty is more than a reflection (blah blah blah). It’s easier to type this to a screen then practice it.

    • Thank you. Thank you for making me laugh – it’s much easier to write/say things, than to put them into practice. I keep trying to get my daughter to do as I say, not as I do. No luck so far.

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  10. Lovely: very moving – great photos too.

    • Thank you. My biggest regret is that my mother didn’t get a chance to meet her granddaughter – while she was alive, that is. Lauren spent a lot of time talking to visitors when she was younger.

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  18. Agree with comments here too – beautiful photos and moving post.

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