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I am lucky enough to still live in the same area as my mother. I try to stop by and visit every couple of weeks. She may think it’s to see her but really it’s because I miss my dog (just kidding — love you, mom). Recently when I was there hanging out in the kitchen, I made one of my typical sarcastic comments and then she fired back.
“Ugh, you sound just like your father.”
Zinger. My parents split 17 years ago, but they’ve always gotten along great. This was not mama throwing shade at pops. No, this was mama throwing shade at me. We all fear growing up to become our parents. As teenagers, we tell them we hate them and hope we never end up like them. In college, we roll our eyes at them and try to discover ourselves. In the real world, we… become them. Beyond looking like our parents, beyond having the same accent or dialect, we start to act and talk like them each day whether we realize it or not.
Some people are a blend of their two parents, but many take on the role of the parent with the same gender as them (girls end up like their mom and guys become their dad). I have picked up on my dad’s catch phrases, I repeat his mannerisms, and I even agree with most of his opinions. I play golf just like he does (hit it as hard as I can and pray for the best). I find myself making unnecessary comments when I am people watching. I have a new habit of talking to the TV like I’m actually the coach, because of course I know more than the professionals. I get way too emotionally involved with little league sports. I yell at slow drivers in the left lane and I tailgate every Prius that gets in my way.
Wow, I have officially become my father. I say dumb words like “phenomenal” and “remarkable.” I send the family group chat pictures of my food. I stop at Bojangles and Hardees every time I see one. I’ve even grown a strong liking for pork rinds. I email my dad random articles and happily join in with a discussion thereafter. I crack the same jokes and use the same corny catchphrases. The older I get, the worse it gets.
Becoming the same person as your parent is not a bad thing. Have you ever thought that as we mature and become a true adult, that maybe they want you to be their friend? Maybe I’ve become the perfect friend that my dad has always wanted. Maybe he wants to relive his glory days through me (although I will never be the D1 offensive lineman with superstar flow and a killer mustache like he was). I can still be my own person while still having some of his qualities and characteristics. He may refuse to get a Facebook and do other typical old man things, but at least we both appreciate the fine specimen named Vanna White. That’s right, I even spend my evenings watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Would I have ever done this if he didn’t make me every night of my childhood? Probably not, but now I’m hooked.
Growing up is scary. Turning into your parents is even scarier. Embrace it. There’s nothing wrong with saying “kids these days” or judging what middle schoolers wear. There’s nothing wrong with going on a diet or going out less. There’s nothing wrong with watching The Price Is Right. There is nothing wrong with turning into your parents.
The next time you do something that mimic your parents, don’t roll your eyes or shiver. Don’t text your friends “OMG guess what I just did.” Take a deep breath and realize that the older you get, the more you become like your parents. .
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