{07/06/2012}   Becoming your parents

After years of denial, I feel it is time to embrace the fact I have become a bit of each parent and just accept that it was always inevitable considering I lived with them for my most formative years.
My dad left his younger brother and the rest of his family, never to see them again, when he was about 18 at the beginning of WW2.  My mum first met my dad’s family after my dad had died, about five years ago.  After my dad retired he would sit in his armchair and “write” on the arm with his right hand.  We always assumed this was subconscious writing, which the cat loved because she thought of it as pounce play; he always had a scratched right hand!  Then mum met his younger brother … who did exactly the same writing thing with his right hand.  I remember then thinking how many habits we learn as children (surely that habit was something both brothers witnessed or did together, or so I now like to think) stay with us and become part of our sense of normality, yet are taken from our parents and I don’t think have anything to do with genetics.
I have my dad to thank for my ability to sit, doing nothing but thinking.  Mum has skirted around suggesting it’s laziness, I think it’s a reflection of our deep and complicated minds!  My mum’s inability to do nothing has not influenced me, which I find quite sad because sometimes I could do with being more productive.
I have picked up a lot of my mum’s habits, particularly kitchen-based ones.  I even found myself washing a plastic bag the other day, as it was “a good one”.  I used to hate, and indeed still do, plastic bags on draining racks.  I think the bag washing will be short lived, though I try to rail against the idea that it’s being environmentally aware to rescue plastic bags, especially good ones; you know, the ones with the fancy zip lock!
My mum’s hoarding has, infuriatingly, rubbed off on me.  I am trying to become my dad on that score, he had very little need for stuff, and indeed very little stuff.  My mum would always, indeed still does, buy birthday and Christmas presents for people whenever in the year she saw something appropriate.  I too have a stash of presents.  But both of us are prone to mislay them amidst the aforementioned stuff!
I picked up my tea drinking habits (tea leaves, teapots, warming the pot) from both parents.  While at university I delighted in using teabags and would go home in the holidays and try to get everyone to use these wonderful teabags.  They were having none of it and some years later I went the way of the leaf too.
Like my mum, I never let my car’s fuel tank get much below the final quarter, I like to “leave before the traffic gets bad” and there’s usually a tin or packet of sweets in the car, along with change for carparks (though, like her, I will go to great lengths to find free parking!).
Like my dad, I am prone to inappropriate giggling.  I have adopted his favourite treat meal, steak diane, as mine, and I get as pathetic as he did about getting bones out of fish.  I don’t write with my hand, but I do steno subconsciously.
These are all things that, whether annoying or good, are a reflection of the parents who brought me up and I love that concept.  I just wish I could have chosen which habits I adopted as my own!


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