The first time I heard it, I froze. I was talking to Landon, and I told him something, and I sounded exactly like my mom. It was the same phrase, the same tone. “Is my mom here?” I thought, looking around. No, it was just me, watching Landon’s retreating back as he took off to do my will. I shook it off, and moved on.
And then I did it again. And again. “I sound like my mom!” I thought. I’ve come full circle. Back to what I remembered growing up, back to memories and family dinners, and cleaning and school. I know we have the same smile, and I know we have many of the same mannerisms, but now I sound like her! It felt weird. Like it wasn’t me. I want me! I’m supposed to be doing my own thing, supposed to be raising kids how I would raise them, I’m supposed to sound like me!
But over dishes and vacuuming and answering client emails, I thought about it more. I thought about the mom I remember from growing up..how she worked tirelessly, how she prayed for us, how she made us soup on Monday’s and Mexican food on Friday’s, and how she was always there for me, like she still is today. I thought about how hard she worked and still works for her family, and how beautiful and manicured her hands look no matter what work she’s done. I thought about her laughing over yard work, and singing with my brothers, and late night talks telling “secrets” with her and my sister, and our mutual love of popcorn and Almond Roca.I thought about how I never remember her raising her voice at us, not even once, and how life never seemed to fluster her.
And then, I didn’t mind anymore. I didn’t mind sounding like my mom, and I almost hope I do for my kids. I hope they can see some of grandma in me-that we look alike, yes, but also that we both care, and love unconditionally. I hope they see that I work hard for them, that I’m always there for them, and that anytime they pick up the phone, no matter where they are or what they’ve done in this big huge world, they’ll know that I love them and I’m there, anytime.
Some days I look at Emma in amazement. She reminds me so much of myself some days that it hurts. Her smile, her mannerisms, sometimes it scares me. Why me? Why was I one of the one’s entrusted with this great and daunting task of raising a girl? A princess? Girls copy their mom’s, they want to copy their moms. And Emma, she does. She watches, more than I realize, and then one day I turn around and see this little person, with the same sense of humor, with the same goofy laugh I always wanted to be rid of, with the same tomboy ways, and I freeze. Me? You want to be like me?
And I realize, all over again, that as each generation comes, as each new woman and then new mom is created, they make a new journey, new habits, new love. I hope, Emmalia May, that someday you freeze. With your hands in the dishwasher and the phone ringing, and the wash machine buzzing, I hope you realize you sound just like me, and just like your grandma, and Emma, I hope you’re just fine with that. A little proud, even, on the good habits you took on, and the bad habits that you were able to forget and let flow away, like the breeze. And I hope you’re a tomboy forever.