As my teenage daughter strides across a room, I see my grandmother’s gait, long and purposeful. She walks like she’s in a rush, as my grandma always did, and I remember as children we were always trying to keep up with her.
My 7 year old son and I dance together like there is no tomorrow. All he needs is an invitation from me and some music, and off we go! Once any of our favorite songs is in earshot, we’re both up and dancing, much to the horror of my other child and my husband. My daughter, like her father, refuses to dance. No rhythm, I suppose. They both claim that they are incapable of such things.
I look at both my children’s faces and I am always amused by the patchwork of body parts taken from my husband and myself which have gone into creating the individuals my children have become. Whatever physical trait one child has of one parent, the other child has of the other parent, making the two completely dissimilar in looks and actions.
Physically speaking, my teenage daughter has her dad’s hair, eyebrows, lips, and body type. She has my eyes, nose, and gender (of course). Meanwhile her brother has my hair, eyebrows, lips, and body type. He has his dad’s eyes, nose, and yes, gender.
I always comment to my daughter that she and her dad have the most perfect eyebrows. The ones that never need reshaping or plucking. Not uncontrolled and ever in need of a good trimming like my son’s and mine. And everyone related to my husband on his mom’s side could be hand-models. They have the long, beautiful fingers of a pianist, with long, naturally well-manicured nails. I’m so jealous of them. But at least I can dance.
I am a photocopy of my mom’s face. Growing up, everyone would comment that we looked exactly alike, which was something I never really took notice of until I held one of her old passport pictures alongside my own. There was scarcely any difference. I eventually came to see that, like a set of matryoshka dolls, my mom, my daughter, and I look very much alike.
I also managed to inherit my mom’s temper, which must be the reason we can lock horns within hours of being together. The ability to flare up at a moment’s notice was a trait I always noticed about her when I was a child. The high shrill of her voice still rings in my ears. But then it was brought to my attention by my then-boyfriend at 22 years old, that I also become very crabby when annoyed, accompanied by said tone of voice.
Conscious of this revelation into my personality, I work very hard to keep these eruptions under control. However, every now and then some ridiculous or insensitive comment will elicit an outburst from my lips and I then have to do some quick damage control to soften my irascibility. Again, it’s still a work in progress…
As parents, we always hope that we have passed on the “good genes” to our children. I hope that our children will have my sense of adventure and fortitude, to be able to try new things and recover wholly, if life doesn’t work out as planned. I hope they will speak their minds like their dad, but with a spoonful of sugar, as I have learned to do. And I’m hoping tremendously that they will not suffer fools, following in the footsteps of their grandmother, but will also be able to recognize and change if a personality reboot is needed.