Last month, my neighborhood book club read Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller. I had a busy month and had missed the previous meeting, so I hadn't read the book. I went to the meeting regardless because I wanted back in the loop (and let's be frank, it's an opportunity to have some adult conversation with some well-educated women, rather than the usual blather from two irrational bosses.)
At one point in the evening, the conversation turned to whether our past dictates our future. Granted, it wasn't as clear-cut as this, but in the essence of privacy I'm going to paraphrase. The mother in the story had become an alcoholic and the concern was that the daughter was doomed to have the same fate. Being the smart ass Southern Belle that I am, I raised my Riedel, holding approximately half a bottle of cabernet, and toasting the air proudly stated, "Being raised by an alcoholic mother, does not make one an alcoholic mother."
The room politely chuckled, used to my quips by now, and moved on, but something about that night stuck with me. In many ways, we spend our lives struggling to be the polar opposites of our parents. There are the occasional situations where children are raised by The Brady's and that's just swell, but honestly wolves would have a better sense of humor...
Like most, I have spent the better part of my adult life and most of my adolescence, striving to be a better person than my mother. The more time that passes since her death, the softer I've become toward her memory and the pain of the inferred inadequacies lessens. I will always catch myself and wonder if I am destined to be 'just like her' as some would claim. I look in the mirror and contemplate the similarities in our faces. There will always be a part of her living in me and I am tempering my rebellion towards it.
The irony of life is just when you feel certain that you have a handle on your life, reality has a way of seeking out your arrogance in the form of a phone call from the power company that employees your husband to let HIM know that your power will be shut off TOMORROW because your dumbass wife doesn't know the difference in the gas company and the power company and has been paying the wrong bill SINCE MARCH and therefore will have no POWER....eventhoughyouworkhere,sir.
And it's times like that when you raise your Riedel, take a big swig and toast the air toward heaven; because, yes mom, I dare to repeat it...but it will not become me.