My childhood was incredible! I lived on a cul-de-sac of 20 homes with a park at the butt of the circle. There were so many kids on this block ranging from 10 years older than me to 10 years younger! There was always someone to play with, to talk to and to occasionally fight with!
I also had my Aunt, Uncle, and 2 cousins 3 houses away! When we lost my beloved uncle over 5 years ago, I remember making a statement in his eulogy; “we were 5 kids being raised by 4 adults!” And we were. My cousins were more like siblings and my Aunt Kit and Uncle Tony were another set of very cool, understanding parents.
As an adult I have had the opportunity to become increasingly close to my Aunt and my Mom. The two of them are a hoot! My brother and I coined the term, “the pigeon sisters” based on the flighty British sisters from that 70’s sitcom, The Odd Couple! They do not like the term because they think the pigeon sisters were ugly. I’ve tried to tell them that we weren’t thinking about looks when we coined it, we were thinking about their sometimes flighty nature.
When I was in college my roommates couldn’t wait for Honey and Kit stories. Like the time they showed up a strange woman’s home for a baby shower for their hairdresser, they were a week early! Or when they used the bathroom on a plane together! We all know just how difficult that had to be given the size of bathrooms on planes! Hence the term fits them well. I affectionately shorten it to the Pidges and everyone who knows me knows exactly who I am talking about.
I spend a lot of time with my Mom and Aunt. I have had more fun with them in Atlantic City than I do with my own friends. I enjoy talking with them, laughing with them, seeing shows together, gambling, and watching sports; although they both get very wrapped up in Yankee games and actually shut the TV off when the other team is up!
Today, we had an afternoon together which we hadn’t had in a while! We began our dress shopping for my niece’s wedding in October! We decided to go to my favorite shop in Millburn, Red Carpet Boutique. Gina and Roxanne are amazing at figuring out what will look best on you and will work with you to make every dress unique! We were chatting up a storm in the car when I asked a simple question to see what the response was from these women who are looking back at life and hitting ages that neither of their parents did, 90!
“If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you tell you?”(based upon the book about letters to your younger self!). There was hardly a pause and my mom looked at me and said, “I would tell me to manage my anger better and my temper and watch the words that come out of my mouth. They are very hurtful and I don’t mean them ever!” Wow, I thought, she didn’t even have to think about that!
She very quickly added, “and I would have learned more.” I looked over and saw a very pensive look on her face. This, I thought, really bothered her. “What do you mean?” I asked. She said that she never thought she was smart enough. She talked about how smart Aunt Kit was but that she wasn’t as smart and should have learned more. She should have applied herself more in school; stayed in college; learned more. Both Aunt Kit and I began to share how brilliant mom is and how we cannot believe she thinks that. I also realized at this moment just how alike my mom and I really are. I have always thought I wasn’t smart enough. Here is this woman who I admire, respect and think is brilliant telling me the same thing. Am I her younger self? As I shared those thoughts with my mom and aunt, I realized that this innocent question really opened up a new avenue for us to explore in our relationship. I shared with them that I have never thought I was enough; pretty enough, smart enough, just plain enough. They both immediately told me how crazy I was, and I laughed. My mother seemed surprised by my laugh so I reminded them that Aunt Kit and I just told Mom she was crazy! Why do we have these warped views of ourselves and how do you change that view?
Aunt Kit began to talk about how she wishes she had gone to college. She would tell her younger self to stay in school, do something great with your career. She then said that she and my mom had great friends growing up and when they first got married and she wishes they had stayed more in touch. Her voice was soft and sad.
I then asked them what they did that would encourage their younger self to do? They both talked about having fun before settling down. At that moment they both began to share how they went out dancing a lot and really enjoyed themselves before marriage. Everyone should have that lilt in their voice when they talk about a time 70 years prior!
I was both impressed and surprised by how quickly they could share what they would write to their younger self. They had never been asked about this before but at this point in their lives, those thoughts must be more in the forefront of your mind. The emotion that I could hear in their tones and how their voice changed depending on what they were sharing was startling. It was fairly raw.
We talked about all that I do to change some of these patterns and my mom told me how proud she was of me. She wished that she had been that brave. We have recognized that I do have a lot of the same insecurities as my mom, but I am working toward becoming more whole. My mom doesn’t tell me she is proud of me often. She tells others.
This discussion gave me confidence that I was working on all the right things this year; letting go of past patterns and creating new practices and patterns to support me!
We went about our day looking at dresses and then having coffee at Dunkin Donuts. We didn’t talk about this anymore but it was in my head the entire time. These women are amazing and to hear them share brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye. Thank God for sunglasses!