Lisa Belkin writes about ThingsEveryMomSays, which is apparently trending on Twitter (I don't tweet, but I trust her). We've all had those disconcerting, time-bending moments when we hear our mother's voice come out of our mouths. Sometimes I choose to say what my mother said, because there are some things my mom got right. And sometimes I lose my temper and think "Did I just say that, or did my mother suddenly inhabit my body"?
Last spring, Eve texted me at work to ask me a question and didn't take "no" for an answer. I went back and forth with her for about 30 minutes while I was trying to see patients and finish paperwork, and then she texted me when I was in the car headed to a home visit. I couldn't text her back, so I called her, and the rational, calm response I'd planned vanished. What came out of my mouth instead was "How dare you...." I don't think I'd ever said that to her before. I don't usually think that way. But when my mother was angry, pushed past the point of reason by something we'd done, that's what she said. Sometimes she still says it.
I wonder if my grandmother said it to her, and my great-grandmother said the Yiddish equivalent...and so on and so on. Some patterns can be broken. Some linger on.