There are a few people in your life who remember you at all ages: as children; stroppy teenagers; young adults and are watching now as you move toward middle age (ho ho). Your parents and extended family have seen it all (well almost all). Do you ever wonder what they think of your adult self? “Didn’t he/she turn out well”? I would bet that at least 75% of you see traits of your parents in yourself; that sometimes you say or think things and hear yourself turning into your Mum or Dad. It goes without saying that the parents amongst you certainly hear yourself coming out with the corkers you heard from your own parents; ‘Don’t speak to me like that’, ‘You will eat what is put in front of you’ or my personal favourite which sometimes accidentally slips out, ‘go to your room and look for my good boy and when you find him bring him back’. Beautiful (sorry kids).
Parents of adults probably feel a bit hard done by; they don’t see their kids as much anymore, they have to be on-call grandkid sitters, they can’t change the way their kids have turned out, their kids generally believe they know better (they probably do), and worse than that in many families (mine included) one of the parents/elderly relations becomes the object of good-natured ridicule. You see the other thing about ageing is that you become less patient, less forgiving and more likely to speak your mind; you’ve seen Grumpy Old Men right? Every Christmas in my house I remind my Dad of the cattle prod I had to produce one year to give him a short sharp shock every time he moaned about something. “What’s this rubbish on the telly?” dzzzzzz “Why’s your mother going to Marks & Spencer’s again?” dzzzzzzz “These tomatoes are tasteless” dzzzzzzz “Not another episode of Eastenders’ dzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. My Dad is a good-natured chap in general so I just have to gently remind him of that, it’s all in the training you know. Take note, your kids will be doing the same to you in 20 years.
So if your parents could tell you honestly one thing that they would like to change about you, what do you think it would be? Not that they could ever really tell you the absolute truth, love is unconditional right? But just for fun have a think about it. I recently read a book called ‘Sh*t my Dad Says” by Justin Halpern and that Dad really knows how to tell the truth. It’s worth a read if you need a giggle and the author is also on Twitter @sh*tmydadsays. My paternal grandmother always told the truth, some would call it tactless but I adored her: She told my mother on first meeting her that she had rugby player’s shoulders; she asked me at 15 what was that on my chin (acne); she also told me at 13 that I was just like her and would always be flat chested… Not what you want to hear when you’re pre-pubescent. Ah Grandma, I want to be just like you when I grow up. She made it to 93 and I miss her to this day.
I am lucky enough to still have both my parents and I think they think I turned out not too bad, the mix of genes, upbringing and my own personal input have stood me well. I can only hope that I am around and as pleased with my offspring when they turn 40. What they will think of me is dependent on how soon I introduce them to the prod.