Monday, September 30, 2013

Becoming My Mother

dishwasher The other night, my husband loaded the dishwasher the wrong way. It was just chaos: bowls put in random places, plastic on the bottom rack, cups thrown about in no particular order.

“Honey, if you want the dishes to get clean, it’s better to alternate big plates with small plates,” I explained as I rearranged the plates on the bottom rack.

I continued to explain my method of organization for the dishwasher as Jeff stood quietly by. When I glanced up at him, his eyes were wide, eyebrows raised and a small smirk formed in the corners of his mouth.

“Are you serious?” he asked.

I stared at him for a couple of seconds as I realized what was happening. I knew what he was thinking before he even said it.

I am turning into my mother.

There comes a point in nearly every woman’s life where she feels that, in some way, she is becoming her mother. Sometimes it is realized with disdain, sometimes it is realized with pride. For me, the realization brings fear.

For every time I insist on the dishwasher being organized a certain way, I think of my mom and her obsessive way of organizing every cup, every dish, every fork. Nobody else can do it the right way.

For every morning that I put on my make-up, I reflect on my mother’s obsessive vanity and fear of being a “Plain Jane”.

For every moment that I thrive on routines and schedules; for every time I count a step when I walk, for every time I notice an ache or pain in my body or worry about a health issue I may face; for every time I say the word “too” or “severe”; for every time my brain draws a blank; for every time I want things done MY way…for all these things, I worry that I am becoming my mom. Do I share a similar fate?

As these thoughts raced through my mind that evening at the dishwasher, I immediately scrambled up the plates. My husband laughed as I returned the dishwasher to chaos and prompted him to continue as he was doing.

Over and over, I am told that semantic dementia is not hereditary. Yet, with each passing day, as I watch my mom slip away, I can’t help but to worry, will I become my mother?

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