We've all heard the almost-joke about the Mother's Curse, sometimes referred to in these PC times as the Parent's Curse:
"I hope you have a [son/daughter] who acts exactly like you act!"
We've all heard this curse, or a variation thereof, and we've laughed about it. Well, I've stopped laughing. I've discovered that there is a flip-side to this curse, a reciprocal portion that comes first, a precursor, if you'll pardon the pun. If it were ever worded, ever spoken aloud, then it might run something like "Before your child begins to act the way you act, you will first act like your [father/mother] acts!"
I know we've all heard people saying they would never be like their parents, or refusing to believe that it's too late that they already are like their parents, but I believe there's nothing to be done. We can't help it, it's a part of the curse; it's built in. Two quick stories will illustrate my point.
My father makes children cry. Not maliciously, he doesn't intend to do it, but when he's playing with a child he does little things to amuse himself. Usually it's something that the child will ask him not to do, which only makes it more fun for him. HE never means to make them really upset, he's just amusing himself, as I said, and an unfortunate by-product of this is that the child in question will eventually storm off. If not crying, they are close to it.
When Handsome was younger some relatives of mine came in from out of town for a visit. We all wound up at my grandparent's house. At one point, one of the relatives, my aunt, asked a general "Where's handsome?"
He's over there," answered my mother, pointing across the yard, "playing with his grandfather."
Sure enough, there were handsome and my father playing a little catch. A very little catch, since Handsome was only 5 or 6 at that point. Not five minutes later Handsome came storming in, stomping his feet with tears in his eyes. He burst through the gathering on his way into the house. My aunt watched him go by, concern showing on her face.
"What's wrong with handsome?"
"I told you," said my mother, jerking a thumb toward my father, who was strolling toward us with his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face.
"He was playing with his grandfather!"
My aunt just nodded knowingly.
Now, I was there for all of this, and it's a story I've told before to illustrate just how my father acts. But there's a problem.
Last week I was playing with Handsome. Just messing around, wrestling and such while I was there after work. While we were wrestling I pinched his butt. He asked me not to do that. I said "Okay, I'll try." As soon as he wasn't looking I did it again. Wide-eyed and indignant, he said "You said you'd stop that!"
"No," I replied. "I said I'd try."
He turned about and I got him again.
"I'm sorry!" I held up my hands. "I guess I'm no good at stopping!"
He ducked out of range and started watching television. As soon as he was engrossed in the show, I got him yet again.
"What?" I was smiling.
He got up and stormed out of the TV room, stomping all the way up the hall to Wife's room. I followed along, smiling, to try to smooth things over. As soon as he got to her room he threw himself onto the bed. Wife looked concerned.
"What's the matter, Handsome?"
"I was playing with Dad!" He made no more explanation.
Wife just shook her head, knowingly.
Damn it, I do try sometimes not to be like my father, just like we all try not to be like our parents. But this curse works!
Talk to you later!