The birthday milestone has been and gone, and I’m now officially ‘over the hill’. Yes, it was a big bump. Yes, it was exhausting & exhillarating to climb. But I’m thrilled to say it was a fun journey to get there, and a lot of friendly faces & love helped push me over that hill to the other side, where life is looking pretty rosy. Phew!

So, the inspiration for this post comes from spending the past couple of days with my folks (who joined myself, my husband, Monkey Bear and loony dog Milo on a little mini holiday in north Wales to welcome the dawn of new decade) And whilst out with them for lunch on my birthday, something really hit me. My mum has always ( and I mean always) hated anyone taking anything off her plate to eat. It’s strange because she’s a generous woman and generous host – go round to theirs for a party and there’s enough food & booze to feed 5 coachloads of people who might just surprise drop in. No, it’s not a generosity thing. It’s a ‘don’t take anything from my plate, or I might have to stab you with my fork’ kinda thing. And it reminded me that I used to be exactly like that. Up until about 15 years ago, I’d be the same – ask, if you want to steal a chip; don’t nick that slice of garlic bread I’ve saved; I’ll kill you if you so much as look at that sirloin. You get the idea.

But 15 or so years ago, I realised something. I wasn’t actually bothered if someone took something from my plate. I’d lived 25 or so years of my life adamant I was, but on sitting down and actually thinking about it, it didn’t matter to me at all. I’d spent my life piggybacking on my mum’s thoughts on the subject. She hated it, so of course, I must hate it too (damn you food plate stealers / shakes fist in air/ mumble grumbles a lot). And it was only seeing it again in action these past couple of days that made me sit up and jolt – what will Monkey Bear hate merely because I do? What, by association, will he learn to automatically detest and say no to, just because he sees and hears me doing so?

When 15 years ago I’d realised I’d copied my mum, it didn’t really affect me. Sure, I was surprised at myself for being such a willing sheep for all those years when no-one had forced me to be, but that’s probably most people – we all take after our parents to a large degree, for better or worse, and their foibles can sometimes become ours. Their dislikes and opinions shape us, whether we (un)willingly follow in their footsteps or purposefully revolt against their views.

But two days ago, it hit me that I’m now that parent, whose views will shape a new life. And the problem is, that you don’t even know what you do or don’t like half the time anyway! When trying to sit down and compile a list of things I ‘hate’, it’s a lot harder than I imagined (even though so many things get on my nerves normally, it seems, honest!)

Time will tell how my husband & I each influence Monkey Bear. But for the foreseeable future he’s definitely taking as much food off my plate as he likes it seems – good job I don’t mind!

Laura x

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