Have you ever heard words coming out of your mouth that force you to look over your shoulder to ensure your mother isn’t standing behind you speaking them?
Perhaps it’s a sign of growing older but how often have you said “oh my, I sound like my mother/father/grandma”. Sometimes, for me, it’s accompanied with the wistful thought that it would make her smile to know that I am actually repeating things she said. Things about which, she was correct. Things she said would happen, that did. Or perhaps, the fact that she told me that when I was “older” I’d be saying the same things…and here I am, “older” and doing just that. Oh my!
I was a rather loud, locquacious little girl during an era when children (particularly little girls) were still somewhat expected to be seen and not heard. Particularly if we were entertaining one of my father’s clients, who quite frankly, were not there to listen to a chatty little child talk about her aspirations for her future. I would find myself at the receiving end of The Look which silently provided instruction to be quieter, less opinionated, more sedate.
It generally worked.
Nowadays, when I witness a Mum screaming at the top of her lungs at her child in public, (and perhaps the child is also screaming), I am thankful that my mother had trained me with The Look. That, while there would likely be consequences for my perceived infraction, there would be no public humiliation.
Of course children have tantrums and meltdowns when they’re tired and cranky, hungry and perhaps feeling unwell. That’s usually not the best time for the adult to have a meltdown too. Recently after witnessing such a display of lack of self control I found myself muttering to myself “training has to begin at home”. And then I whirled around to see if it was in fact my mother standing behind me…or did I, in fact, hear her coming out of mouth? When on earth did that happen? When did I reach the age of “maturity” or “wisdom” or just plain bossiness – to have an opinion on the actions, or inaction, of complete strangers?
I think it’s when I realized that I had probably also perfected The Look.
Without even knowing it, my mother’s words had seeped into my soul. The wisdom of an older woman training up a younger one had actually an effect once my brain was fully formed enough to know what wisdom actually looked like. The older I got, the smarter she seemed. Miss you, Mum.