Ever have one of those moments where the realization has hit you that you’ve turned into one or a combination of both of your parents? Oh yeah, come on. Admit it. You know what I’m talking about. Out of your mouth flew some catch phrase of your folks that you swore you’d never use, and boom! You were struck with that bolt of electricity that instantly turned you into your parent(s).
It’s true that I’m not a parent yet, but I am an aunt, a teacher, and an observant person so I know that it’s not only possible, but very likely that at some point in my lifetime I will turn into one or both of my parents. Not literally, but rather figuratively in the regards that I will either say something or do something that mirrors them when it comes to reprimanding, talking to, or correcting a child.
I suspected it would happen.
I knew it would happen.
I looked for it to happen and I can tell you the exact instant it did happen.
Recently, I was at my little sister’s house. I was having a great time there with my nieces and my sister. We were chattering and laughing and giggling and acting silly—like aunts do with their nieces and nephews. Suddenly, my youngest niece said something my sister didn’t like and I sat there horrified as my mother came out of my sister.
When I was a kid, my mother was the disciplinarian of the normal, everyday, routine infractions. If we misbehaved to the point where she uttered the words, “Sit there until your father comes home” then we knew whatever it was we’d done warranted severe punishment. We avoided that at all costs. However, my sisters and I knew if the words, “Don’t make me stop this car” came from my mother’s mouth, we were in hot water. Worse yet, if she gave us that look, we knew we were just a few inches away from hot water.
You know what look I’m talking about. That Look. The one that causes young children and even adult children to tremble with fear, sit up straight, close their mouths, and lower their eyes. That Look.
When my niece misbehaved, I saw that That Look flow like fire from my sister’s eyes. I mean, even I wanted to jump over the sofa and hide! My niece just gulped, promptly sat down, and looked everywhere but at her mother. My sister followed up the look with, “Now you think about what you said to your sister.”
My niece, not being wise in the ways of punishment yet, asked, “Can I do it in my room while I watch Scooby Doo?”
I was left with no choice but to snicker. For my efforts, I was awarded the look. To which I said, “I’ll just sit here and think about laughing at improper times.”
My sister lost it! Before long, we were back to chattering, giggling, and acting goofy. But I knew my sister had rounded the bend in life and had become my mother.
A short time after that day, I had the luxury of watching my nieces. As I am the funny, goofy aunt, they weren’t sure just how far they could push me and get away with it. I think all children test the waters of an adult looking to find their breaking point. My youngest niece—the Scooby Doo fan—found my breaking point. She was being disrespectful to her sister. No, she was being a brat to her sister. A certain grouping of words came from her mouth—I can’t even recall exactly what they were I just know they caught my attention. My head snapped up and I whipped around to face her. The smile disappeared from her face and she promptly sat down on the sofa.
Hitting me with her large brown eyes, she blinked her long black lashes at me and very matter-of-factly said, “Aunt Walry, you look just like grandma and mommy when you do that. I don’t think you look good doing that.”
The words, “You sit there and think about what you said” died on my tongue.
Instantly, my stomach tightened and that bolt of electricity went through me bringing with it the realization I had turned into my mother.
I had acquired That Look.