What is it about you?

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Today’s commentary is brought to you by my parents. Thanks to my parents, I have picked up many idiosyncrasies and/or obsessions. For instance, today I mowed the lawn. And, thanks to my parents, I mow the lawn in a different direction each week. This morning, I had to mow in the up/down direction (vs. side to side).

I’ve talked about mowing the lawn in previous posts. My parents always mowed the lawn in different directions. And now, I cannot bring myself to mow the lawn in the same direction every time. This obsession stinks, because we have a hill in the front yard and a hill in the backyard. I do not enjoy the days I have to mow up and down the hills; mowing side to side is much easier.

One morning, while I was mowing the lawn (up/down) our neighbor, Ed, walked by our house. Apparently, due to my red face and slow pace, he could tell I was not having an easy time. I noticed he stopped walking, so I looked over to see what he was doing. He was making a side to side motion, letting me know side to side would be easier than up/down. I stopped the mower. “I blame my parents.” I huffed. I didn’t huff because I was mad; I huffed because I was tired.

“My parents always mowed in a different direction.” I explained to Ed.

“You need to get over that.” He said.

“Well, it’s the only exercise I get. It’s not so bad.”

He smiled and said, “Join a gym.” Then he started walking again, and I started the mower and resumed my obsession.

Rearranging furniture is another quirk about me that I believe comes from my parents. Well, my Dad didn’t rearrange furniture, but my Mom sure did. And, I rearrange a room in our house about once every two months. The boys have come to accept my habit of rearranging to the point that they will ask me to rearrange certain rooms. In fact, Charlie recently asked me to rearrange the kitchen. Unfortunately, the kitchen is pretty much nailed down. Aside from rearranging the counter-top, the kitchen will remain ‘as is’.

Another idiosyncrasy I possess relates to my Dad’s smoking habit, though I do not smoke. When smoking and driving, my Dad would rest his elbow on the car door, while holding a cigarette between two fingers and having the tip of his thumb in his mouth. When I am driving in the car, I catch myself in the same kind of pose my Dad had when he was smoking and driving.

Like my Dad, I also possess wrinkles around my mouth and lines on my forehead. (I realize wrinkles and facial lines aren’t considered an idiosyncrasy.) The wrinkles were more noticeable on my Dad’s Mom, as well was my Dad’s sister, though my Dad had the wrinkles, too. And, I speak in past tense, though my Dad’s sister is still very much alive. (My Dad and his Mom died 16yrs ago. *gasp!* Still seems like yesterday on some days.)

I think the wrinkles around the mouth stem from worrying. “Her pursed lips showed concern and frustration.”  Yes, my lips are in a constant state of ‘pursedness’, as I simultaneously raise my eyebrows in concern and shock, creating lines on my forehead…

Our parents pass down more than genes. They pass down habits, addictions, obsessions, idiosyncrasies, looks, etc. And no, we don’t necessarily welcome everything they pass down to us. Still, what is it about you that resembles your parents?

I feel my Dad’s presence every time I catch myself in the ‘cigarette’ pose. When I look in the mirror with pursed lips, I see my Dad in my reflection. Then I raise my eyebrows and see his same lined forehead. As I sit and scoot on my butt, dragging a dresser across the floor, I laugh to myself and wonder where my Mom would put the dresser this time. Though I may curse my parents when it comes time to mow the lawn in the up/down direction, I quite enjoy their presence in other things.

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