Every girl remembers the moment she said it. “I am nothing like my mother!” When I said it I was probably fourteen or fifteen years old. I stood by that statement even as I approached my early twenties. My friends would say, “You’re exactly like your mother!” I would shrug it off and reply, “No, I am completely different.”
Then, something changed. It kind of crept up on me slowly. I am not sure of the exact date, but I think it was when I started to develop this obsession with water. I always have it with me, but then the news came out that it could cause Cancer if the plastic were to get overheated in a car. I had gone to visit my friend Amy and her husband in Quantico for the 4th of July. We had been out all day in the heat and had a few water bottles left. I was outside pouring it on all of the bushes and trees. Amy came outside and asked what I was doing. I looked up and said, “We can’t drink this, but we can’t just throw it out so I am giving it back to the Earth. She has been good to us and we should do something nice in return.” Amy laughed and said, “You sound just like your mother!”
Next I was with my friend Morgan. We were on our way back from a meeting and we heard a news report. Someone stole a man’s prosthetic leg out of his truck. Before I knew it, the words popped right out of my mouth in an unusually soft, yet concerned tone. “What kind of person would steal someone’s leg? That’s just awful!” There was a three second delay before Morgan and I said it at the same time. “You/I just sounded exactly like your/my mother!”
What was I going to do? How much longer could I contain it? I can’t be like my mother; I don’t even have kids! I cuss too much, I wear too much makeup, and most importantly I don’t even go to church! It can’t be happening! But- it was coming- there was nothing I could do to stop it!
Then, the moment came. I was part of a group and I had to help set someone up. I found myself losing every ounce of patience I could dig up in me. I had to take a step back to prevent myself from expressing just how annoyed I was and then it hit me. He had some form of Autism, perhaps even Asperger’s. All of a sudden my feelings went from annoyed to a little sad. How hard had he worked to get to that point in his life? Certainly much harder than I had so I should just shut up and help him. No matter how much patience this was going to require! Even if he kept insulting me- stay calm and carry on.
The next time I was around the other members of the group I heard them expressing feelings of irritation with this same man. Their patience was constantly being tested. I interrupted their conversation and told them what I had realized. As they were having what Oprah would call their “aha moment” I took a breath. There my mother was in full force. Her words coming right out of my mouth just like hers did when I was being a gossipy brat in middle school. “Be nice to people. No matter what!”
Before I knew it, the calls were rolling in. Not to me, but to my mother day after day, year after year. Thanking her for all of the lessons she has taught me and for the way she raised me. Me, asking her, for an opinion on what I should do, or me trying to get her to admit that even she would have had to say something mean if she were in my situation. All of these moments that I fought when I was young still leave me wondering how I could be so blind to this gem that’s been by my side since I was born?
So today, in honor of Mother’s day, I wanted to proudly shout, “I am just like my mother!” I am always cold and will be in a sweatshirt almost all year long. I have to bring food with me everywhere I go incase someone will be hungry when I get there. I laugh hysterically when I am tried. Good luck trying to keep me awake passed 9pm and don’t even bother trying to get me to sleep passed 4:30am. I get annoyed with my husband if he leaves crap all over the counters in the kitchen and can’t understand why it’s so hard to shut a cabinet or change the toilet paper roll when it’s empty! I love pie!
I stand up for the underdog and push back against bullies. I honor my word and have a strong work ethic. I love people no matter how different they are from me. I am loyal to a fault. I hate to see animals and humans suffer. I don’t give up on what I believe in, no matter the rejections I face. And most importantly, I always try to turn my own pain and sadness into an act of kindness. Onward and upward I go…becoming more and more like Marie Rizzi each step of the way.