There is a question that I ask my mother all the time: "Who are YOU and what have you done with my mother?!" This question usually follows some sort of behavior that was SO uncharacteristic of her in my youth (or the mother that I REMEMBER from my youth, anyway. LOL!). I swear, the woman had grandchildren, and now I don't even know who she IS anymore! ;) A kinder, gentler version of my dear mother has apparently body-snatched the whip-cracking, no-nonsense, rule enforcing, corporal punisher of yesteryear and left us with someone who reminds me more of, well, MY grandmother. It's funny how the birth of a grandchild does that to a person. :)
It's also funny how a fairly liberal, free-spirited co-ed, who has more than once put a bindi on her forehead, chanted in foreign tongues, contemplated the Wiccan lifestyle (I could go on, but I think you get the point) has now turned into... Yep. You guessed it: MY MOTHER. If anyone from my twenties were to meet me on the street right now, I'm SURE they would ask me the same question I ask my mom. And like my mom, I would be a little embarrassed as they checked off the characteristics that (THANKFULLY) no longer resemble the person I am today.
I guess the old saying is true: Having kids really does change things. That and the fact that I married a Republican. LOL! What that polo shirt wearing, pick-up truck driving, golf loving, SEC grad saw in this hippie wanna-be.... I may never know. Change is good, though. He now wears Birkenstocks and I vote Conservative, and as far as I know, Hell hasn't begun to freeze over just yet. :)
But seriously, I think that Americans are too busy trying to hang on to any semblance of their youth. Unlike the Native Americans who honor their elders, our culture idolizes the young. I'm coming to realize that beauty is not everything. Everyone is beautiful when they're 18. STUPID, but beautiful. Cocky, but beautiful. RECKLESS, but beautiful. Shortsighted, indulgent, narcissistic, immature.... but beautiful. As a person who always looked younger than I was, I couldn't WAIT to turn 30. I couldn't WAIT to be taken seriously. And as forty approaches... it's looking better and better all the time.
When I'm a grandma like my mom, I'll probably look back on my parenting skills and shudder... much the same way I do when I think about the brief period I didn't shave my legs or my underarms. And I'll probably laugh like I did right now. So I'm passing my torch to all the youngsters out there trying to find their way. I've got beds to make and dinner to prepare, and from looking at my mom and grandmother... some pretty big shoes to fill. :) I'll be happy to take their torch, and as much as I would like to set my past afire with it, I know it's made me who I am today. Exactly HOW is still unclear, unless magic was involved. :) And knowing my past, that's not entirely impossible.... (insert evil laugh here!)