True Personality & Happy Birthday…

When I was young kindly folk told me I looked like my father.

No little girl, no matter how much she loves her Daddy, wants to be told that.

“He’s a man and I’m a girl!”  I thought in confusion.

I took it to mean that I wasn’t pretty like my mother.

I left home and grew my hair to prevent any uncertainty about my sexuality, I was bone thin with no womanly curves and make-up became a good friend.  I had my father’s strong features, or rather my grandmother’s, now I was old enough to realize Daddy had had a mother to take after too.

The full lips, the lovely thick hair, his dark brown eyes and Roman nose,


right down to his very capable hands.

I look remarkably like my mother too when I wear my hair in a particular way and after having my own children the mix of Hubs and I dancing across their faces never ceases to amaze me.

Genes have an uncanny knack of showing up in less than guarded moments not only the look alikes but the ones responsible for personality!

I left home resolving never to become like my parents, as many children probably do, and find myself, decades later, reminding myself, here and there, of them.

The encounters mostly occur when my children start to behave (as I must have) in a questionable manner (to my way of thinking) and I react (as my parents must have) in an unbecoming way.

I have their best interests at heart, since, from where I stand a few decades ahead, I am more mature, far wiser and hold a wealth of experience in my hands.

I am learning to hold back and listen, offer a few words, that may or may not be heeded, and then watch helplessly while they slide down the slippery slope of independence which may be difficult, or easy, joyous or grief-ridden.

It breaks my heart as they pull away to discover who they are apart from me but that is what I raised them to do.

Happily, despite some sticky, awkward moments, their true personality does not change.

It may soften like the flowers of the field,


It may mature if allowed,

Over time it may even shed the toddler tantrums and whirling dervishes of excitement,

But the deep seated self does not venture far from the being God crafted with His loving hands.

I was reminded of this when I met up with some old school friends whom I hadn’t seen for decades, I’d changed, or so I thought, after marriage and child-bearing, empty nest and all that happened in between.

We had shared our teenage years together as boarders at the convent we attended and had been separated by our growing up and now here we were still able to guess what each other was thinking, tap into those deep emotional feelings brought on by divorce and wayward children, laugh and joke with each other as the years apart melted away.

They were the 13 year olds I’d first met (albeit with a few wrinkles and some grey hairs) and they told me I was still the same Vivienne,

“You were always the maverick!”

I was astounded, I had been dependent on my friends, worried about how I came across to my peers, shy and retiring, too afraid of repercussions to say boo to a goose, homesick, miserable…and, eventually, head girl!

“Really?” I said, “I struck you as a rebel?”

“Oh yes,” they nodded in unison, “you always went against the norm, stepped outside the box, refused to toe the line.”

They’d seen my, wearing of overlarge school uniform sweaters, refusing to play outdoor games in favor of ballet, sneaking out of school to go to the nearby town for a coffee on a Saturday, getting up early for daily mass, the running of tuck shop and the organization of monthly talent shows, as strong!

I had not learned about introspection back then.

To my mistaken mind I’d worn oversized clothes to hide, I’d taken ballet to avoid the pressure of competitive games, I’d snuck out for my own sanity, mass was where I lost myself in God’s embrace, I felt happiest behind a counter where no-one could bully me because I was in charge and I loved the make-believe of the stage.

I was a self-protector and it showed up as bold, different, daring and confident!

If only I’d known!

Today I don’t toe the line, I like to do things my way, I enjoy being different.

I may be a trend setter, I don’t know.

My peers may look up to me, I don’t ask.

I hadn’t wanted to grow up to be like Mummy but I did and she told me I intimidated her with my efficiency not recognizing her brilliance blossoming in me…

Mum copy

When my children run circles around me, which they often do with their gifts and talents, I smile,

“She learned that from me…” I think.

When they praise me for the way I use technology, I glow,

“There is no end to learning…”

When they call me,

“The wisest woman I know,” after I offer good counsel I shrug and think,

“It takes experience and one day you too will be able to offer sage advice…” as I pray my words hold fast.

As I model a graceful and adventurous way to age I bump into my mother from time to time, because at heart I am like her, only I use the abilities I inherited in my own way.

Just as I see my children doing.

Watching them grow up is sometimes excruciatingly painful.

Knowing they are growing more like me can seem unlikely at moments but in the end, their essence, poured into them at creation, shines from within like a beautiful indigo diamond,

Diamondand sheds its light on all who have eyes to behold.

Happy Birthday Mummy.  I miss you every day.

I am the mother I am because of you.  Thank you!

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