It happened one day. I was 23. I was telling my brother not to do something. He was visiting my apartment and he was bothering me. I don't even remember what I said, but he responded with, "You're just like mom." It was supposed to be an insult then, but it wasn't.
Figures it would happen eventually. I mean, I am her only biological daughter.
It started happening more. My dad would say it to me as we drove to another of my brothers' house for a family dinner when I was 25. "You're just like her, you know."
It started happening the most when she got cancer. The less life she had left on earth, the more people told me I was just like her. It's like they were trying to pass her torch to me. The day of her funeral, I think I was told by every single person that walked through the line at her wake that I was just like her, or look just like she did at my age. It was both comforting and frustrating.
I wanted to run and hide. It felt oddly pressuring in a way. Almost like I'd be letting everyone down if I didn't turn into her. The ways that I am just like her were hardly known to me. I never thought we were alike. I always felt like she was more stable emotionally, more healthy and strong, and more calm. It's funny though, she told me once that she admired my willingness to always speak up. I guess we admired what we didn't have.
Sometimes I find that I'm similar to my dad. I forget to call people for months. I am content in my own little world 95% of the time. I assume that no matter how long I go without socializing with my friends and family, they'll still be happy and feel loved by me. I know that this can't be true for all of them, but it is how I feel about them. I don't doubt their love for me at all, I assume it picks up where it left off whenever we see each other. This is one of the ways my dad parented -- from a distance. Apparently this is part of how I love. Weird.
I am the most like my mother, though. I notice it more the older I get, and the longer she's gone. Justin tells me I'm just like her. My brother from before, tells me it often, now. He means it now as a compliment. I've even caught myself coughing in the exact same way she did. It's weird. A cough? How can one cough identical to their mom? Apparently, it's not impossible.
I'm thankful to have her genetics. Her taste in natural makeup and hair, hippie style clothing, folk music, and gardening. She gave me her talent of carrying a tune, and playing the piano. She taught me to be silly and laugh a lot. She taught me the art of hanging out and, also, stacking things for "later". We both grew up feeling like ugly ducklings, so we developed a healthy sense of humor.
When I was young we didn't see eye to eye on much, and I felt like we'd never really understand each other. She probably felt the same. But that didn't last long, we became buddies when I moved away from home. Soon, she was one of the few who really "got" me.
When she died, I read her journals from when she was my current age. It turns out, she and I are soul sisters. She wrote similar things to my own journal. I felt like I was reading me. The experiences were different but her heart was the same. I've always wondered how I'd ever turn out to be such a peaceful woman as her. It turns out, I just have to live at least as long as she did because I'm already on my way.
In what ways are you like your parents?
In what ways are you not?