I used to absolutely hate being like my mother. We look alike. We sound alike. Much as I'm loathe to admit it, we often act alike. For years I put all my efforts into establishing an identity apart from my mom. Yet sometimes, circumstances conspired against me.
I remember one winter break when I was home from college. Mom's employment agency sent her to work at the company where I'd begun my business management internship. We ended up working side-by-side in the same department. Everyone thought it was cute, but I was not amused. And horror of horrors: Proud of my success, my mother wanted to have lunch with me.
My biggest fear was that I'd become a carbon copy of my mother. My mom's a born organizer; she's worked as an efficiency expert who walks into an office and suggests improvements to maximize output and minimize effort. But I wasn't interested in any efficiency tips from Mom, eager as she was to try to make my life easier. I wanted my own style, my own identity—in my own way.
It wasn't until several years later, after I felt secure in my career, had built friendships with my peers, and had succeeded in maintaining my own household, that I realized how much I missed Mom's friendship. It was this sense of "missing out" that drove me to take a fresh look at Mom—not as a superior adult who could dictate right and wrong to me, but as someone on equal footing who could prove to be a caring, loving friend. It was then I began forging a promising new relationship.