Do you ever wonder at the person you have become? How different are you from the child you used to be?
In many ways I am still the same girl I used to be, but in other ways I am all grown up. The temper I had so little control of is still there, but now it is less frequent and better controlled. The careless attitude I had for life is a little more measured, and past experiences have ensured I treasure every day.
However in other ways I have become someone my parents would not recognise.
As a teenager I watched as my mum at last got the chance to plant the garden she couldn’t have when she had a young family. I say ‘I watched’ what I should say is I saw a garden grow, but I had no interest in the world in what she was growing, or how pretty it was. To say I was disinterested is wrong, the truth was I hated anything to do with the garden. ‘Tric will you water the plants?” was met with sighs and protestations, followed by a grumpy teenager barely wetting the flowers before packing away the hose. God forbid if she asked me to dead head the roses, because if one earwig crawled out I would dump the lot and run, never returning to clean it up.
Fast forward thirty years and you can see from this photo taken from my hall window, of a part of my garden, that I am no longer that girl. I love flowers and all things gardening. My idea of a perfect afternoon on a fine day is to visit a garden centre, planning a new flower bed or enhancing one already in bloom. How did this happen? I cannot explain, but perhaps the time I spent gardening, under duress, allowed it to seep into my soul, where it eventually blossomed. I wonder would my mum have ever imagined, she would one day in the future enjoy many a conversation on plants and gardening with that grouchy teenager.
As I thought about this post today I recalled another part of my childhood which lay a foundation for a passion of mine. This one came courtesy of my dad.
Those of you who follow my blog will know my dad died when I was barely into my twenties. He was a relatively young man in his early fifties who died a long death from motor neurone disease. Despite losing him so young he taught me so many lessons. One of my dads lovely traits was his appreciation of significance. We could be enjoying a simple moment and my dad would eloquently explain to us why that moment was special, even though we more often than not groaned and laughed at him as he did so. He had a great eye for such moments, and never let them pass without comment. Huge moments such as last days and first days were remarked on, but equally small moments, missed by many, when with a quiet word he would wonder how we had got on. I can remember when he was very near the end, unable to speak, or move anything but his eyes, I walked into his room after an important nursing exam. He was struggling to breathe but on seeing me his eyes widened, staring at me, doing all he could to ask me how did I get on.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post ‘To the small girl at the top of the slide’. One of the comments was in praise of me turning a simple moment into a poignant post. As soon as I read it I thought of my dad and the girl he taught so much to, and the adult he has helped me become.
I’ve been a long time growing up, but I hope on occasions my mum and dad look at me, smile at what I have become and feel proud for the lessons they managed to teach that difficult teenager.
17 thoughts on “Look at me now!”
You know they are! funny how what we grumbled and groaned about in our younger days become our passion when we mature. Mind you, I use “mature” very liberally!
Lovely, tric. I was thinking the other day reading the correspondence with your brother how proud your folks must be that their children are so loving to one another. A product of a similarly loving environment, no doubt. I say that because it’s not guaranteed, and many families can be fraught as you know. So it’s good to witness, and to hear it cherished so openly and freely.
I paused for a moment there trying to remember a similar occasion my own Da declared as significant. He did frequently encourage us to take a good look at our Christmas dinner before we ate it because it’d be the last extravagant meal we’d see for a while. Dad dialects – multiple and unique in their own (sometimes disturbing) way.
Your dad sounds like my mum. 🙂 I am happy to say we are a close family, but great credit for that is to my mum who is our anchor and doesn’t tolerate division which naturally occurs. She is the boss and the glue.
I see some families drift apart but I think the key to keeping the family close is childhood. Our memories and bonds forged early keep us close. That is my thinking on it. I’m also a bit of a mafia mum. I insist my own kids understand family is everything. Time will tell if they listened.
I think you perfectly capture the transition of self-absorbed teen to adulthood that so many of us experience. Part of it is cherishing the gifts we were given that, at the time, we failed to recognize. My relationship with my parents has always been strained. Yet, there are values and experiences I once took for granted that now enrich my life and make me who I am.
Thank you. Yes I agree, I certainly ‘failed to recognise’ those gifts at the time. I wonder what our children will take from us? If I asked my gang now I could hear them laughing as they tell me ‘nothing’.
what a great post. I often wonder this….
What a cycle we humans live through….I appreciate your acknowledging that you feel parts of you remain the same while in other ways you have grown up. I have yet to acknowledge to myself that I have ‘matured’ or grown up. I keep telling myself I’m the same. It’s high time to pay attention to this post and realize I’m not the same, not in everything. Great post Tric. And I bet if you asked your mom…..she’d give you an answer I would be surprised to hear.
Thank’s colleen. I’m not sure what my mum would say, so I wont ever ask! I am amused by you never acknowledging you have grown up. I felt old, while very young, so in many ways I feel younger and more free now than I did as a twenty year old. I do get a real sense of your zest for life in your posts. I’d keep going the way you are, you strike me as great craic (as we’d say over here).
Oh I’d like to think I’m great craic. But truly, I am NOT the life of the party. I would rather observe most of the craic because it makes me smile so. I feel zesty about life, no doubt!!!! 🙂 I think I may be growing in to my age. I know exactly what you mean about feeling old, while very young. Maybe it’s because I’m so far away from that young/old feeling that I have started to lose the stresses of being the child in that situation. And getting older, feels better. So perhaps, I am feeling what I’m supposed to be feeling. And it doesn’t feel bad. Like it used to. I am pretty sure you may understand exactly what I mean, even if this doesn’t on the surface, seem to make sense.
I like your train of thought in this post. Would the teenage me like the middle aged me? I like to think so, but sometimes I look back at that girl and think: How did I ever get the courage to do that? And sometimes I wonder where that courage went. Stepping out on my own without a safety net at 18, now I think things through and weigh the options and very rarely to step outside of my comfort zone. I wonder if the me at 70 or 80 will like this me or even remember this me.
Charlene I am with you on this. I was a mad young one, totally fearless. Nowadays I lack a lot of that madness, but maybe that’s a good thing.
Our courage has served us well though hasn’t it?
i have absolutely no doubt they see you and are bursting with pride at the woman you’ve become. what we, as parents all aspire to feel about our children. (it’s the getting there that’s the tough part of the road for all concerned)
Yes it’s been quite a trip getting this far. I suspect there is no one our age who hasn’t a story to tell. Thanks beth.
We have a little of our parents inside of us, waiting to burst out. For some of us those are good, positive parts; for others, not so much. You are one of the lucky ones that had these positive parts inside of you, waiting to bloom. They’re watching. They’re smiling.
Thank you Corina. I suppose they are. I was indeed lucky in my parents, they taught me so much, and had a lot of lovely qualities. I suppose they seep into us over time. Now your girls are over you may be able to see those qualities coming through.