Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Looking in the parental mirror

Like all kids, whenever I was told that I would grow up to be just like my parents, I always laughed it off a bit.  I would be different.  Usually, someone would make this argument when I had an argument with my parents.  During these moments, the last thing I'd want to hear is how I would grow up to be like my father.  I am pretty sure it is every teenager's nightmare to be there parents.

But, here it is - I am my parents.  Clearly, my life is different than my parents.  At 29, I am single, a law school graduate, living in Belize, working for the State Department.  At 29, my parents had two toddlers and worked in their restaurant (my Mom may have been at Ramada by this time, I am not sure).  Neither had ever lived anywhere other than Omaha, Nebraska; they were surrounded by family and life-long friends.  Our lives are clearly different.

But, in so many ways we are the same.  We are all close with our family and talk to our parents almost daily (my Mom's parents had died by the time she was 29, but she talked to her Mom everyday before she died).  We are spontaneous and like to travel.  My parents love to tell the stories about life BC (before children) where they'd drive to Colorado on a whim when they got off their shift on Saturday night (1 am) and didn't have to be back until Monday evening.

I really resemble my parents in our mannerisms.  When my Mom sits in her Lazy-boy, she always has one leg tucked underneath the other.  She will switch legs every 20 minutes or so.  I do the exact same thing (though I don't have to stand up to switch legs as she does).  When my father is relaxing in his chair, he will often throw one of his arms on top of his head, so that his triceps is next to his ear, the crook of the elbow bent with the forearm resting on top and the hand dangling.  I do this constantly.

I tell the same corny jokes I make fun of my father for.  (Side note - when driving around Belize, there are tons of chickens that roam free.  At least once a month, I will approach a chicken that is crossing the road.  I make a joke about "Why did the chicken cross the road?" and I giggle EVERY time.  This joke does not stop being funny.)  I also tend to tell the same stories repeatedly.  The only difference is that I don't get the story wrong.

When I was growing up, my Mom had to leave for work at 630-645 every morning.  Despite this ungodly hour, she would actually get up around 5-530, so she could have her coffee and read the newspaper in the morning.  She loved this time of her day and hated whenever any of us ruined it by being awake.  I always thought she was crazy for wasting so much potential sleep time.  But, if you substitute "cereal" for "coffee" and "internet" for "newspaper", I do the exact same thing.  

With my (lack of ) commute and the time it takes me to get ready for work, I could conceivably get up at 730-740 everyday and still make it to work on time (one of the many reasons my job rocks).  But, I need that time in the morning to orient myself for the day.  If I wake up late, the rest of the day seems off-kilter.  And I think that having someone else around at that time would ruin it.

If I have to grow up to be like someone, I am glad that it can be my parents.

(I am curious how many people will just read the title of this post and think I got a girl pregnant?)