The realization sneaks up on you when you’re carrying a take-away box of spaghetti in your purse. It whispers in your ear every time you turn off a light when you, or someone else, leaves a room. It becomes blindingly clear one day when you are 20 (don’t tell your 15-year-old self): you are exactly like your parents. Both of them.
You look like your mother and organize like your father. Your mom’s random trips and plans are becoming more enjoyable and you’re shocked to realize that your dad’s jokes are becoming funnier. Your world is flipped upside down; how did this happen? You’ve heard it from everyone from your Grandma to strangers at the store, but you never thought it could be true. You were always independent, headstrong, and an advocate for individuality. It wasn’t that you didn’t love your parents, you just hated being known as someone’s daughter; you wanted to stand alone and be known on your own terms, not to be defined by whom you were related to.
But it happens one day when you’re 20. You’re living farther from home than ever before—a different country even—and you’re doing all the things that would make your teenage self roll her eyes and scoff. You’re renting bikes and riding in parks, wandering around cities without any real destination or time frame, just “getting a feel for the city.”
Somehow they managed to sneak through your formidable independence and influence you. You see your mom each time you plan a vacation, booking hostels and looking for fun things to do. Your dad is there in every one of your grocery lists and each trip to the store. He’s there in your morning Vegemite toast too. They snuck in and they taught you how to budget, how to plan, and how to seek friends. They miss you, sometimes you feel guilty for moving so far from them. But they taught you how to dream, adventure and chase the spinning world, so really you can’t be blamed. They taught you to live, to love, to fight for all that you want.
It happens one day when you’re 20; you are your mother and you are your father. This realization isn’t followed by an eye roll, a scoff, or suppressed horror but rather a simple smile and a silent thank you as you realize it was futile to try to run from the inevitable. So you tie the shoelaces they taught you how to tie and step into your next adventure, planning and hoping to make them proud of the things that you did one day when you were 20.