So last weekend I had a startling revelation. I was pulling a little trolley cart thing through the crowded aisles of a popular nursery (I'm choking over many of the things I just said, don't worry) and I realized that I have become my parents.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love my parents. I should be so lucky as to become my parents. But suddenly I was a GROWNUP. And a grownup version of them. It dawned upon me when I realized that it was a beautiful Saturday and I had chosen to get up at 7am, meet a friend for coffee on my patio, workout together, and then head to the nursery. All voluntarily.
I had flashbacks to when my mom was my age- I would have been 4 years old. I would quite possibly have been running the aisles of the plant nursery while she shopped, or I could have requested to stay in the car (don't get your panties in a bunch DCFS, parents didn't know that was a no-no back then). But the days of choosing to go look at plants, much less take them home and repot them into new soil and spend hours doing so, didn't even register on my little horizon.
And yet there, I was. And before I knew it, I was crouched on my patio, wearing GARDENING GLOVES, hands deep in soil, tapping pots and focused completely on finding them a new home.
Sometimes you have these moments, where you notice yourself becoming your parents. My patio potting moment reminded me of every spring, when my parents would buy annuals and sit and replant THEIR ENTIRE GARDEN because the Chicago weather required them to do so. They'd be out there for hours, handing marigolds and petunias to each other, lining hedge after hedge. I'd help with weeds for 20 minutes and then retire inside to air conditioning and a Nintendo. It seemed like craziness to me, I couldn't imagine needing beauty around you that much. BOOOOORING. And here I was, manifesting the gene.
That just led me to think about the other little habits I've picked up from my parents. Some are cute, many might be admirable, and some are ones I've harassed them about for years and now find myself sneakily doing:
1) reheating coffee in the microwave. maybe 3 times. [BOTH]
2) highlighting mail. ok, i don't highlight my mail but i write on it so i know what it is. [DAD]
3) tapping my nails on the keyboard/table [MOM]
4) raising my eyebrows while dropping a frown in dramatic "no kidding!" fashion [DAD]
5) putting makeup on without needing a mirror [MOM]
6) feeling the need to provide audio accompaniment to a big arm stretch [DAD]
7) buying lotto regularly -- and being convinced i'm going to win [DAD]
8) underlining in books [MOM]
These are just a few off the top of my head. (Ok, and the ones I feel like posting to the world at large.)
We always think about the big habits/physical traits we inherit, but recently I've been noticing the littler ones. The funnier part is when it's things I remember yelling at them about ("throw that OUT!" "just make a new pot!"). And the truth is, everyone has them. Look beyond the eye color, the hair color, the generosity or the brains or the other major traits your parent formally handed down to you, and you'll start to see the little habits, tics, and quirks that made their way into you. It's ok, you're in a safe space. You eat the burned popcorn? You make up songs to go with housework? You ring doorbells three times? Whatever it is, there's something reassuring about it all. As I press 1:00 min on my microwave for the second time this morning I realize that genetics makes some sort of sense to me in an otherwise crazy world.