People tell me I look like my mother.
All. The. Time.
It’s actually a real compliment. My mom is a looker. Always has been. I (almost) never think about how she’s over 20 years older and instead focus on the fact that we are both small and fit with curly hair and an ever ready Colgate smile, compliments of the white strips she brings me on a regular basis.
Sometimes she also brings me a new shirt or pair of jeans that she recently purchased for herself. Since she buys nice stuff and it’s… um… free… it’s not a hard sell. So it’s not like I help matters. The only problem is when we show up at a family function in matching outfits which can be a little embarrassing, especially when one of the younger kids takes me by the hand and says, “Come here, grandma.”
But besides that momentary twist in the chest, it’s good, and we laugh about it. I mean really how lucky am I to have her genes and her jeans?!
Recently my mom, the most energetic person I know – the one with only two speeds – high octane or falling asleep while sitting up; the one who plays tennis before Zumba class and then follows it up with a body sculpting class and later hopes someone will want to join her for bike ride or a walk and even later on, possibly go dancing – has been ever so slightly sidelined by cough arth cough ritis cough in the thigh area. (We don’t speak about any affliction that might indicate age.)
It has been extremely difficult for such an active (see: rigid) person to lessen her fitness load even slightly, so true to her generally bulldozing self, she charges on; limping through tennis games, letting an occasional ‘Ugh’ out in gym class and only allowing it to really aggravate her in the wee hours of the night when she should be sleeping.
As my step father is annoyingly fond of saying, “The apple don’t fall far from the tree” since I not only resemble my mom but, after a brief period in my younger life resenting the hell out of her, have adopted many of her healthy eating and exercise tendencies.
While I am a pretty low key exerciser, think, reading my book while peddling my elliptical, sometimes I take it up a notch like the class I tried the other day. It was kind of a circuit boot camp; you know, jump squat, sprint, push-ups, sprint, throw-up, sprint, running man, sprint, etc.
It was in the middle of the second circuit when I felt it, a twinge in my left thigh. It nagged at me for the rest of the class but I powered through, limping slightly to my car after it was over.
“Shit. Shit. Shit.”
I hated being sidelined. I hated feeling compromised. I hated feeling… old.
Later when my mother came over to babysit, I noticed we were wearing the same jeans and similar black boots. I told her she looked cute, she told me I looked cute and then we giggled like a pair of idiots. Matching idiots. As we hobbled together toward the kitchen to share a veggie burger and sweet potato, it was with a new understanding. I realized I not only looked like her but slowly and steadily I was becoming her.
Years ago the idea of it would have horrified me. I was young and so sure of my individuality and youth. I didn’t fully realize that time mercilessly keeps moving and doesn’t stop for anyone. We all become our parents at some point.
Although it turns out my thigh injury was just a muscle pull not cough arth cough ritis cough, the real difference is negligible. For better or for worse, I am becoming my mother.
Just as anyone.