Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Family Ties

I just got off the phone with my mother. Who was slightly inebriated. After drinking half of a margarita. The other half she spilled on my dad's lap. It was a 20-minute conversation that I spent listening to her laugh hysterically. About what? I have no idea. But it was funny.

We do a lot of things like our mothers. I, thank goodness, require just a few more drinks (read: one full margarita, instead of half) to be slap-happy drunk, but once I get there, I, too, laugh like a moron at everything I see. If I can't be a happy drunk, I don't want to be a drunk at all. My mom and I are fabulous together on the rare occasion we drink together (a shared bottle of muscadine wine and you've got yourself a show).

But I'm not just a happy drunk like my mother, I clean like my mother. I cook dinner like my mother, and wash the dishes like her. I argue like my mother, I laugh at the same jokes my mother laughs at. But I eat like my father. That is to say, mindlessly. Anything in front of me is fair game, unless of course, it's healthy.

We all gain weight pretty much the same way--slowly, consistently, and with little notice until one of us points at each other's asses and says, "Hey, your ass is HUGE!" Well, my dad and I get our bellies pointed at; my mother, her ass. We're apples, she's a pear. Together, we're a veritable fruit salad. (And my brother? He's the toothpick we all hate.)

There came a time when I decided that I didn't want to do everything the way my dad does. I stopped going to his church in favor of finding my own. Dad still pretends to be disgruntled when I announce that I'm one of the bleeding heart feminist liberals he hates so much (even though he's voting for Obama next Tuesday!), and he can't understand why on earth I gave up my biology major in favor of studying American Literature (we won't even get into how amazed he is I'm going to Ole Miss when he graduated from Mississippi State--the rivalry is FIERCE, and their game the Saturday after Thanksgiving is going to be funny as hell).

So, if I'm okay with voting, worshiping, and thinking very differently from my parents, why do I insist on keeping up their unhealthy habits? My dad eats because food is there--for this reason, I don't keep unhealthy foods in the house. When I do, they're gone within days. My mom eats because she's stressed or upset. I'm breaking this habit, but I need to learn to work off my emotions with some other constructive activity. Neither exercise, and I quit working out about a month before I moved to Oxford. And why? Because I'm busy, or I can't afford it, or ice cream tastes really good. The same reasons my parents give. It's time to break the chain.


MizFit said...

whoa. as a mama to a toddler girl I took this post to heart.

(and also wondered if Im old enough to be YOUR MAMA :) methinks yes...)

that everything I do there is a chance she will emulate--whether she 'wants to' or not.

Crystal said...

Great post. It's so true how much of what we do comes from our parents. For instance, I am a cookie cut out of my mother. We gain lose weight the same way and both tend to be emotional eaters..something we both try to break.

Breaking the chain is a good idea and sounds like you are headed in the right direction. Oh, I also have the toothpick brother and sister (they got dad's genes). Talk about sibling rivalry!

ambika said...

Gah, I wish I could see my habits as a reflection of what I grew up with. But just about everyone in my family is a twig; lucky me, I inherited my body and dead-in-the-water metabolism from my dad's side of the family (with whom I did not grow up.) If my mom & I didn't have the same speech patterns and attitudes about just about everything else, I'd think I was adopted.

Regardless, it's a huge step to recognize those patterns and want to change them. Bravo to that (& your recent weight loss--how exciting!)