During my lunch break the other day, I happened to look in the mirror. I recognised the woman looking back at me, but it wasn’t me.
(No, I’m not schizophrenic…read on…please…)
In a meeting earlier in the day I had recognised the voice of a woman giving firm instructions, in a tone that was not to be argued with, while at the same time intended to make the listener feel that the woman had their best interests at heart.
I can’t pinpoint when this transformation started, but I think it’s time to face the facts – I am turning into my mother.
Today is Mother’s Day in Australia.
Sure, it’s a commercial holiday, fuelled by the interests of florists and greeting card manufacturers and the like, but most mothers are worth celebrating, right?
So let’s roll with it.
Go and call your Mum – after you’ve read this of course.
The saying always goes that if you want to know what a girl will turn out like in thirty years time, just look at her mother. I appear to be living proof of this phenomena, and I have to tell you I’m proving that it’s nature not nurture that’s causing this to happen. Having moved overseas ten years ago, I only see my mother on rare occasions yet I now frequently find myself repeating gestures, mannerisms and turns of phrase that I recognise as belonging to her. This happens far more frequently now than it ever did when I saw my mother regularly.
In the last few years, I have noticed an increased sense of confidence in myself. I may not please all of the people all of the time, but if I am satisfied with my own behaviour, if I can look myself in the eye and say I did the right thing, that’s enough for me. Just as my mother stuck up for us kids when we were in trouble, I stick up for people, and I instinctively keep an eye out for people who might not be able to look after themselves.
In my professional life I find myself in leadership situations, not because that’s what I went looking for, but because, as someone who has experience of a situation, I will instinctively lead those who have not. When I make a decision and I want someone to agree, I nod my head and smile because this will encourage the person listening to do the same, thereby agreeing with my decision. I think some people have learnt this on management courses, but I know I learnt it from my mother; it’s the same nod-and-smile gesture that says, “This is how it’s going to be, no more talking, run along now”.
I can feel myself starting to develop “older person” habits, such as an appreciation of early mornings, good manners and meals eaten at the dining table. I have a special voice reserved for official telephone calls. I get niggling joint pains and wonder if I should see an osteopath. I’ve started to worry about things that never bothered me before, like driving too fast, eating too much junk food and drinking too much and too often.
Where I once saw freedom and excitement, I now see danger.
My mother has always been very particular about her appearance; as a result you will never see me in public without make-up and I never wear flat shoes. However, (sadly) there is one way I can prove I am not my mother. She has a marvellous range of creative talents, ranging from watercolour painting through to singing solo in musical theatre, whereas I have only ever exhibited ability in areas described as “analytics” or “verbal reasoning skills.” If these inherited genes of mine were really doing their job I’d be a singer or a musician, maybe even an artist; a real artist painting pictures that look like actual things…
We are both known for bursting into song because a phrase or even a single word has triggered a memory; if we are together when this happens, chances are we’ll both start singing the same song, but my voice will be the one that is totally out of key!
If this transformation continues, and I do turn out to be just like my mother in thirty years time, it really won’t be a bad thing.
I doubt I’ll ever be able to sing, but I will be an honest, caring, respectful woman with an appreciation of the world around me, a sense of adventure and a story to tell.