There are moments in life that leave you speechless because of how beautiful or intense they are. For example, falling in love, overcoming a fear, or seeing the view from the top of a mountain.
Recently, I was taken aback by something else entirely–it was like looking down at a mountain and being shocked by how high up you are. The feeling came from acknowledging how far I’d come. After I fought my way through challenges, hardships, and low points, I realized that I had grown up different from what I used to be and not at all what I thought would turn out to be.
I had turned into my mother.
My mother is an interior designer, and we’ve always made math jokes (we know, they’re geeky) to see if she would catch on. If you believe the rumors within our family, my aunt may be funny. However, I’ve never heard her tell a joke where she manages to contain her laughter until the end. I woke up to find her straightening my dog’s hair on my bed. Not only that, but she also believes that she has taught our dog how to speak three languages. I’m still trying to figure out what the third language could be.
In contrast, I have always been more like my father. I don’t mean to say that I am serious, but rather that emotional displays make me uncomfortable – just like my mother. I’m not very good at problem-solving, and I prefer logic over creativity. Sarcasm is my third language, and I often have difficulty suppressing my own needs to attend to someone else’s.
I was recently telling a joke to myself and laughing before I even got to the punchline. Even more terrifying, I find myself picking flowers and offering myself as a shoulder to cry on. The worst part is that I always say goodnight to the dog in German.
My mother, who moved to America to become a software engineer, seldom says no. But one day, she said no. After resigning from her engineering position, she started anew by enrolling in college design courses, seeking internships, and painting the town red. She had always dreamed of working in design and, because of that, she pursued it with more passion than I had ever seen before. All, of course, without forgetting that my good morning hugs are best supplemented with a Nutella sandwich. She became superwoman; the controller of her dreams. More importantly, she became a vision to me. Turns out, silly goofy mom didn’t forget the punchline; she had just lifted the stakes and raised the standards for herself all while holding our hands.
As I enter my twenties and face difficult decisions, I admire my mother for choosing to pursue her dreams instead of settling for comfort. I can’t be the only one who, when feeling too exhausted to do their hair, has compared themselves unfavorably to their dog-walking mother. As I walk to class, thinking about how to library time and time for friends into my schedule, I remember the countless projects my mom helped me with whilst I cried on her lap in middle school; upset by things like life drama and PE uniforms.
And then, I laugh. Because as much entertaining as it would be to hear the end of any one of my mother’s jokes, I realize that I already have—I am the punchline. It turns out, living comically or not, that the product is often a lot like the producer.
Is it almost Mother’s Day already? How time flies! Realizing you’re becoming your parent is a funny feeling, isn’t it? Share when that light bulb moment occurred for you in the comments below!
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