As time goes by, I notice myself becoming more like my late mother, both in appearance and attitude. My Mum hated walking long distances. I avoid walking long distances because I get short of breath easily and this causes concern more to those around me than myself.
Mum preferred to eat out than to cook but then had very specific tastes when it came to food. Although I don’t share her love for fish, I do enjoy sticking to a number of favourite dishes. In fact there are things I no longer eat because my Mum isn’t here to make them and I do not know anyone or have anyone who could recreate those dishes in any way that could do them justice.
Although I have had my driving license since I was seventeen and have clocked up thousands of miles over the years I find myself anxious behind the wheel and am happy to let my husband drive. However, I am probably one of the worst passengers in the world as I flinch, comment and basically am a pain of a backseat driver.
This too is very reminiscent of my Mother who was a nervous passenger and driver. In fact, my husband rejoices if I take the wheel when we go anywhere, because he feels I benefit from the experience and my driving skills are wasted. I debate having any skills, such is my loss of confidence in middle age.
Mum was a type two diabetic from a young age and so am I, having been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of thirty-two. I’m not sure whether it’s all completely psychological, I strongly suspect not, but since my diagnosis I crave the things I’m supposed to avoid or eat in moderation. Thankfully neither one of us took to smoking, as that would have only added to our predisposition of ischemic vascular risk factors.
Unlike my mother, I choose to handle my diabetic management with a firmer line and make sure I take my metformin at the prescribed dose daily and I hope to avoid having to go onto insulin in the near future and hopefully avoid diabetic complications for as long as possible.
Most of all I check myself before sounding like my Mum. I think we all subconsciously if not consciously try to recreate the environment we felt safest in childhood and with that comes adopting prejudices, beliefs and attitudes that mirror parents. Parents are not flawless and nor should they ever be, but it is our responsibility once we steer ourselves to examine what we think and say for their true meaning and practice what we think we believe.
As much as I loved my mother I question my reactions to certain situations and think hard about their implications in terms of my shortfalls. I don’t think my Mum ever thought she had any shortfalls, but I cannot say the same about her or myself. Being human means being flawed, but not everyone can bear to see their flaws and learn to love themselves anyway. I think a lot of people can see flaws in others but love them regardless, but it is much harder to accept your own shortfalls and be happy.
Shortfalls and imperfections in people are not reasons to think less of them. I totally agree with the concept that staying angry just results in punishing yourself repeatedly. So I let the anger go. I don’t dwell in the past, despite having many clear memories going back decades. Instead I choose to remember the good times, the times I felt loved and part of my family. However, I am under no illusions that the key problems in the family I have known centre around blame and focus on what everyone else needs to do, rather than finding positive change in ourselves.
It’s difficult to hear rhetoric and advice that could and should be applied in equal measure by the advisor. There can be no dispute about the love I know I felt for all those I spent time with in the past. I’m just shielding my dysfunctional heart from further pain by keeping my distance, in which respect I’m nothing like my Mum.