The 5 Stages Of Grief You Endure When You Realize You've Become Your Mom
My mother does this infuriating thing: She insists that she hates dessert. This wouldn't be a big deal if she didn't actually love dessert.
Whenever we go out to dinner and are asked if we would like to see the dessert menu, she makes a huge show of refusing.
“Oh absolutely not," she says. "You know, it is so funny — I do not have the slightest sweet tooth. I do not like sweets at all.”
We (me, dad, nephew, sister) roll our eyes and make our respective dessert orders, only to have her DEVOUR our delicious treats when they arrive.
“You know I usually hate dessert, but let me just try one bite.”
Eight bites later, and my chocolate soufflé is gone.
A few months ago, I went to dinner with some friends. The time came to order dessert. I sat quietly as all of my friends ordered ice cream sandwiches. The waitress asked if I'd like one too, and I said, “No, thanks. I’m not a huge dessert person.”
And I swear I’m not! But then she brought out the warm, goopy chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream dollops in the center, and I could not help but want to try just the teeniest bite.
When I was halfway through my friend’s ice cream sandwich, he stopped me.
“Candice, you ALWAYS do it.”
I quizzically looked back at him with a vanilla chocolate chip mustache.
“I always do what?”
“You say you’re not a huge dessert person, and then you eat everybody’s desserts!”
With my mouth full of warm chocolate and ice-cold vanilla swirl, I realized: I am my own mother.
It wasn’t just the dessert. Obviously, it wasn’t just the dessert. We're both chronically late. We both love ourselves a bit more than is socially acceptable. We both are outwardly daring and inwardly total wusses.
But the dessert triggered my realization. And that first spark sent me down a long mental journey of accepting the fact that I am my mother -- and realizing that maybe that's not such a bad thing after all. It was not a pleasant process, let me tell you. Honestly, I'd liken it to the five stages of grief.
Because when you learn that you are your mother, you really do experience loss. It is a loss of self — a loss of who you thought you were, followed by acceptance of the person you swore you never would be.
Stage One: Denial.
First of all, you deny it. You refuse to read what was clearly written on the wall (that you are your mother).
Okay, but I am not at all like my own mother, because I ACTUALLY am not a big dessert person. I just simply do not have a huge sweet tooth. Like, yes, I’d like to change the flavor in my mouth with a small bite of something sweet, but ordering an entire dessert to do that would be ridiculous. Right?
Stage Two: Anger.
Realizing that I was turning into my mom was more infuriating than seeing her steal my chocolate soufflé.
WHY WOULD SHE PASS ON THIS STUPID CHARACTERISTIC TO ME?! What’s next?! Am I going to be twenty minutes late to every event I attend? Am I going to send my children selfies with the caption “Your gorgeous mother xx”?!! WHAT IS NEXT? WHERE DOES IT END?! WHY DID SHE MAKE ME THIS WAY?
Stage Three: Bargaining.
I was okay with being like my mom, as long I'd inherited only her good habits. I would take this one small little quirk over a bigger, more overarching character flaw.
Okay, so we both have this cute little habit (it’s kind of endearing, right?). That’s fine — I’ll take it. I’ll take the fake hatred for dessert as long as I don’t inherit the chronic lateness or the incessant bossiness or the slight narcissism.
Stage Four: Depression.
I was defeated and disappointed when I realized that I could not, in fact, pick and choose which character traits I wanted to inherit. Was I original at all? No matter how hard I tried to fight it, it seemed inevitable that I would turn into my mother.
The fact of that matter is that -- no matter how much I bargain and deny it -- I really am a lot like her. I am late more often than I am early, I have no trouble complimenting myself, and I'm also for some reason convinced that I hate dessert ... even though I very clearly f*cking love it.
Stage Five: Acceptance.
My irritability eventually faded, and I was able to accept the fact that I am my mother. Honestly, I could have had it way worse. Even some of her worst qualities are what make her so absolutely fabulous.
My mom is actually pretty f*cking dope. She’s late because she’s always doing something interesting and exciting. She’s bossy because she has been in charge of her own business for over 30 years. She’s slightly narcissistic because she’s bold enough to own the fact that she is both beautiful and accomplished. My mom is fierce and fabulous, and I have got to admit that I am lucky to be even slightly like her.