The Inheritance of Loss

Posted by Sherry , Tuesday, November 30, 2010 Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I didn't notice this until 5 or 6 years ago when a colleague of mine pointed it out (and mocked me relentlessly) but I routinely use the phrase “Oh, for cryin' out loud!” You know, like, I'm in the check out line at the Piggly Wiggly to buy some milk and Pringles and after waiting 25 minutes for the blue hair in front of me to get out all her coupons and argue with the cashier about whether she can use the .25 cents off Charmin coupon for both bath tissue AND ass wipes or just the tissue and then its finally my turn and the register runs out of ticker tape and the manager has to be called over to replace it because the cashier is a “New Team Member!” and then the manager decides to use this as a 'learning experience' for said “New Team Member!”? That's when I pull out the “Oh for cryin' out loud!”

Now, for those of you who haven't met me or read my profile information, that probably leads you to believe that I am a 75 year old South Jersey grandmother who tells dirty jokes and shakes her fist at bad drivers. Or that I'm Joy Behar.

Unfortunately, you'd have assumed incorrectly. I'm just a dorky 33 year old who complains frequently and loudly enough to SEEM like a 75 year old. By the way, my knees are popping like CRAZY today. Must be a storm coming.

But you see, its not my fault that I say “Oh, for cryin' out loud” or “For Pete's sake!” or “You get married so you have someone to kill the bugs”. I INHERITED these phrases. They're family mottoes! Sometimes we cross-stitch them on pillows.

And maybe its the fact that the holidays are upon us or the fact that my 89 year old grandmother recently came to visit, but lately, I've been thinking a lot about habits and rituals and what I've inherited versus what is 'all me.'

For instance, I bite my fingernails. Yes, it is a nasty habit and probably means I'm a nervous person or need constant oral stimulation (tee hee) or maybe it means I like my nails short. Or that I'm a serial killer.

No one else in my family bites their nails. Not my sister, my mother, my grandmother or my father. They all have lustrous, painted (daddy likes Rockette Red), beautiful nails and have no shame showing their hands to even the most judgmental of Vietnamese manicurists.

Also, I HAVE to sing along to every song that comes on the radio. I simply CANNOT carry on a discussion if there is a song playing in the background that I know the words to (which means there isn't much talking in my car. Unless, of course, we're on the Smooth Jazz station, in which case, we're talking about my impending funeral because I'm about to throw myself out of the moving car). Much of my family is like this. We WILL shush you if you choose to interrupt us during our renditions of any Carpenters' song.

Anyway, while my grandmother and mom were here last week, I took notice of their body types and eating habits. Neither one of them has ever been fat nor have they ever really been skinny. They are both average, pear-shaped, white women who complain mostly about their thighs being a tad jiggly and asking if things "make their butts look big" but in reality, they look like just about every other American woman walking the streets. My sister, lucky girl, inherited that particular shape while I, on the other hand, am a different fruit altogether.

Call it apple, call it top heavy, call it Kathy Bates – I'm basically your average Granny Smith sitting on a couple of Popsicle sticks. Pour some caramel on me and you've got a sought-after State Fair treat. I carry all my extra weight right around my middle, the unhealthiest place to carry extra weight. Also pretty terrible in terms of finding jeans that don't make you look like like one of the Tweedle Dee or Dum twins. This, along with my love for cop show dramas and poop humor, I inherited from my father.

With regard to eating habits, well, I can tell you that I've never ever seen mom or grandma 'binge' on anything other than a sale at T.J.Maxx. Mom's usually on a 'diet' and at any given time you can find a chewy, fake-peanutbuttery, 100 calorie treat at the bottom of her purse. I've seen her turn down homemade cookies with a flip of the hand and claim that she just “can't get enough” of something as mouth-watering as celery sticks with fat free ranch dressing.

Grandma on the other hand, usually drinks ½ a can of regular Coca-Cola at lunch and cooks with Crisco regularly. Although she recently started working out so as to 'watch her figure,' on our recent trip to Starbucks, when our frowny faced barrista asked Grandma if she “wanted whip on her white chocolate mocha” Grandma looked genuinely perplexed when she answered “Well, OF COURSE!”

Although, she, and I, looked equally perplexed when the designer velvet track suit clad soccer mom behind us ordered a “grande half-caf, triple shot, half syrup, gingerbread soy latte”.

See, Grandma simply doesn't see a point in ordering a white chocolate mocha and then butchering it with skim milk and denying herself whipped cream. Why? Because Grandma only gets a Starbucks coffee treat TWICE A YEAR.

Bottom line here people, I inherited the worst of both my mom and grandma's worlds. I basically spent the last 27 years of my life binging on diet food and then turning around and treating myself to more of it for choosing 'wisely' and not eating the skin off of ONE piece of fried chicken.

By the by, Snackwell's Devil's Food low-fat cookies are only low-fat if you eat ONE of them. A box of those cookies will NOT make you thinner.

So, to sum it up, I got fat because of what I inherited and I got fat because of the choices I made. There's really no sure way to know which came first, the fatty or the Olestra.

What I do know, now, is that thanks in a HUGE part to my Lap Band, I'm finally able to take the best and healthiest bits from Grandma's eating habits and Mom's eating habits and come out the other end a thinner, happier and healthier person.

I don't know if I inherited this ability to take control of my life and make it better or if it is something I learned, and it really doesn't matter, I guess. I'm just glad I'm finally able to do it.

Grandma showed me how to make her famous pie crust. LOTS of Crisco

Then she showed me how to make her amazing fried chicken. MORE CRISCO!
I had about 3/4 of a piece, WITH the skin. Just the right amount and YUMMY!

Grandma, Mom and the Little Girl who I hope only inherits the best parts of all of us.

20 Response to "The Inheritance of Loss"

Gilly Says:

I am almost as in love with this post as I am with you! You are crazy brilliant!

Theresa Says:

Well for the love of Mike!(that's one I inherited) That was a great post! You are brilliant and if these two women played part in raising you...then they must be amazing as well. That chicken looks so good and so do you!

Annie Says:

First of all- you are a remarkably insightful, funny, witty, and fabulous blogger! And, secondly- how great that you have learned all the best things, and can pass them onto your daughter. Thirdly, what a bunch of beautiful women! Your mom looks so young, and all of you look happy and so pretty!

Great post!


lol Girl you sure have a way with words - I was smiling through the whole post. Whether you're a 75 year old grandma or a serial killer in disguise we cant help but love you. You look great in the pic too - loving your long hair! xxx

Anonymous Says:

I love this post! Great pictures and insight!

Amanda Says:

I think I say this every post...however I will say it again! I really really enjoy reading you!

Amanda Kiska Says:

You write beautifully! This was very funny & entertaining!

And sooooo true! I love that I can eat something made with real butter or cream or sugar and not feel even a little bit bad about it.

Do you say, "I don't like the cut of your jib!" or is that just me?

Camille Says:

My granny could fry some chicken in crisco. She never weighed more than 100 pounds! Great post. Thanks for the smile!

Band-Babe Says:

What beautiful women, the bunch of you!

Great food for thought here...

Kristin Says:

Love this post, love your writing, ADORE the last picture.

Angie Cummings Says:

Great post pretty Sherry!

You really look like your mama, and I love how you told your story!

Gen Says:

Does everyone have a Crisco-frying grandma? Mine was all about the fried chicken, white bread and margarine, and "monkey bread."

And never a weight problem. No doubt because Snackwell's were not yet invented.

This post was awesome! You look great.

Band Geek Says:

Sakes alive, that chicken looks delish! I always enjoy your posts and your wit.

Jess Says:

XOXO-this post my Tweedle sistah.
(I s'pose you can be Dee cuz you're too good at this writin stuff to be Dum.)

Sandy Says:

Too funny. I say the same thing. And I always get into that line, even when I change checkout lines two or three times. I end up in the slowest. Always. I always wonder about people who don't think about food all the time. It's just sustenance for them and not a food fest. But Crisco still makes the best pie crust.

Steph Says:

This is like, the best post I have read in a month or two. Seriously. I am smiling like crazy. Oh and when I am in the line, I turn into a 65 year old seasoned sailor..."Christ on a pony!" is my expression of exasperation. I think that might earn me a seat on the fast tract to hell, but at least it's faster than the grocery line!

Bonnie Says:

Awesome post. Can't wait til you come to town.

LDswims Says:

Sorry I'm so late to the party but I have to say this is probably one of the best posts I have ever read. What a great post!

Read Says:

Absolutely fantastic post!! Thanks so much for all the insight and all the smiles, I loved them both!

Lee Ann Says:

Thanks for the smiles. And thanks for the pep talk when I was in my slump a few weeks ago, I needed it and I'm back on track again. :)

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