Before leaving the house for work this morning I conducted my usual routine of wandering around from room to room gathering up the gear that I thought I would need to get through the day. With coffee in one hand and a fruit smoothie in the other I headed for the door precariously balancing a variety of tote bags stuffed with an assortment of useful items I deemed necessary so that I might survive my 12 hour shift as Saturday receptionist at the old folk’s home. I made it out the door without incident and didn’t even get tangled up on the door knob or spill blueberry juice on my freshly laundered ensemble.
As I traipsed across the lawn I stopped to ask the little rabbit sitting nearby how he was feeling today. Then I got in my car, hooked my seatbelt, waved goodbye to Mr. Rabbit and took off down the road. That’s when I realized that even though I thought it would never happen and despite my best intentions, I am turning into my mother.
Mom has always talked to animals as if they were human and we always made fun of her for it. For years now, I have made jokes about the back seat of her car which is stocked at all times with every item you might need in any event that could possibly ever happen including, but not limited to, a nuclear holocaust. Nothing could happen to her that she’s not prepared for. Besides the usual assortment of neck braces, corn pads and a pharmaceutical collection that could rival Pfizer, she carries food and water just in case her blood sugar dips or she feels the need for hydration.
In addition to being prepared for disasters and feeling a connection with small woodland creatures, I have begun to notice other things my mother and I now have in common, my wardrobe for instance. Back in the days when I wore purple crushed velvet hot pants I swore I would never be caught dead in slacks with an elastic waist like my mother wore. These days I can be spotted any day of the week gallivanting around town bedecked in clothing from my once fashion forward closet which is now filled with an array of slacks manufactured with the “comfort waist”. My stylish high heels have been replaced with support loafers and a non slip tread. My panties are no longer silky satiny or lacy. Today I sport panties made of 100% cotton with a high waist that climb out the back of my jeans when I bend over. I know it’s not sexy, but I’d rather have people see the top of my underpants than a part of my anatomy that has a crack in it. I don’t care how pretty you are or what kind of body you have. Nobody’s derriere looks good from that angle.
Yesterday I arrived home from a long work week and met up with Mom who had come by to drop off a few things and was just leaving. She was in a hurry, but stopped long enough to tell me about how she has lost 20 pounds and now all her slacks and underpants are extremely saggy in the crotch, which was very uncomfortable. I got the blow by blow description complete with visuals right there on my porch in front of the neighbors and anybody driving by. She said she wished she could stay longer, but had to go to J.C. Penney to buy new underpants because her saggy ones were giving her a rash. She went on to depict the condition of her nether regions, but I will spare you the details…you’re welcome.
My conversation with Virginia was apparently a repeat performance. My son told me today that he had gotten the original version while he was trying to get ready for work that same day. Grandma stood there in our living room he said, tugging on her crotch and actually showing him her saggy underwear (I can only imagine the look on his face at the sight of that) while he feigned interest because he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. At least he has respect for the elderly. If I tried that he would get up and leave the room at just the mention of my unmentionables.
I realize I’m becoming more like Mom when I do things like walk out to the end of the driveway to get the newspaper still wearing my nightgown and slippers or upon seeing the look of horror on my son’s face when I ask his friends how they are doing. I know he’s thinking that any minute I will break into song or regale them with stories about my hemorrhoids.
When did this happen to me? I used to be so cool. Where is the girl who left the house with nothing but her driver’s license and a tube of Chapstick in her pocket?
My son tells me at least once a week that I sound just like Grandma. There was a time when that statement would make me cringe, but today I’m thinking that becoming like my mother is not all bad. The older I get the less I care about what people think of me and I tend to live my life the way I want, which I realize is what my mom has been doing for years. Before I know it I’ll be wrapping toilet paper around my head at night to keep my hair from getting messed up while I sleep. Heaven help me if I start wearing a neck brace and carrying around my own pillow to sit on. That’s just going too far.