Every single time we are out together it happens. We could be walking, shopping or at a school function when inevitably someone will ask, “Are you guys sisters?”
When we reveal that she is, in fact, my mother, there is a whole lot of shocked gasps. “No way!’ They say, “You totally look like sisters.”
As you’d expect, my mom basks in the glow, while on the other hand, I want to scream – very quietly, because I don’t want to hurt my mommy’s feelings – “HELLO PEOPLE! I’m more than 20 years younger!!”
Now I realize it’s not about me looking bad at all. It’s all about her looking good. Which she does. In fact, she looks fabulous. Ridiculously fabulous.
But being a girl, uh, woman, new – okay, relatively new – to middle age is difficult enough; compile it by being the daughter of a hot mom and it’s even more challenging.
When I was younger, having a mom who was constantly playing paddle ball in her bikini, sexy dancing the night away or reminding my chunky teen-aged self, that I didn’t need the ice cream was a little hard to appreciate.
So like many rebellious daughters, I went in the opposite direction; no make-up, hair in a ponytail, baggie clothes and a few pounds to lose. It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t have to be unattractive because she was attractive. That while it can be a little annoying, her being hot was actually the best thing for me. Welcome to my middle-aged clarity, where I can see things more clearly mentally but not literally.
While I once turned up my nose to her constant exercise and irritating, rigid eating habits – steamed tofu and veggies or Cesar salad, no croutons or dressing – uh, that’s plain lettuce mom. I now model a lot of my behavior after her.
My older self sees the value in being a fit, healthy, attractive person; although maybe not to her extreme. Daughters can only allow their mothers to be 75% right, retaining the last 25% for their own self-respect, individuality and superiority. It’s a girl thing.
Her hotness makes me try a little harder. Run a little farther. I’m still eating my ice cream, but I’ll make sure to eat those veggies as well. She keeps me in check, because life’s a competition baby, and I’m out to kick her cute little ass. No, I’m kidding. Sort of. I mean, I don’t want to kick her ass, but I do want to look as hot, maybe hotter. Someday, I will. When she’s like 80.
So the other day, when my brother asked my young nephew to hand something to grandma, and he walked right over to me, I didn’t scream, even quietly, I reminded myself how lucky I am to follow in her footsteps. Hopefully, I will grow up to be just like her – beautiful on the inside as well as the out.
*A variation of this essay originally appeared on BonBonBreak.com