I spend a lot of time thinking about age these days: my age, my mom’s age, the ages of my friends. What we all seem to have in common is a desire — maybe a need — to tell, to retell, and to tell yet again our stories from the past.
My mother used to drive me mad with her repetitions. Her ability to ignore my impatient sighs as she rambled on yet again through a tale I knew by heart, was impressive. No amount of “Daughter Rolls Her Eyes” would disrupt her auto-pilot relating of (take your pick here) the day I was born, the day she got her driver’s license, the wintry afternoon when she, as a 12-year-old drama queen, decided to run away from home. (She got about 25 feet when she decided it was too cold outside.)
“Ma! You’ve told me those stories a hundred times! I could recite them with you!” I thought to myself.
I recall the day my impatience with her was cut short by my hair dresser. (Pun not intended.)
“You know,” she said as she reached for her shears, “I hear this from other daughters of aging moms. I wonder if it’s because their peers have all died. We all tell stories over and over again to our spouses and friends. But I don’t think it’s the stories we’re sharing; we’re reliving the memories.”
That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t a part of those memories; I was merely a repository for them.
Wise words from a 22 year old.
“For She Is a Lover of Life
pastel by Judy Westergard