Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I am my mother

When babies are born, family members try identifying the source of their features ("she has her dad's eyes"; "she has her mom's mouth"; "she has Uncle Fred's double chin"). Once those babies are old enough to speak in sentences, they begin asking their parents, "what do I get from you?" When children are toddlers, we're happy to let them know that they have our smile, our disposition, our sense of humor. The connection is important to them. This is the beginning of their process of self-discovery and reflection. Our preteen and teen daughters still seek out those connections. One of our daughters insists she looks just like I did as a child. I laugh when she says it because, other than the fact that we both have long brown hair, I just don't see it - she's so much prettier than I ever was and so much more interesting! In any event, that connection gives her something she needs and I'm delighted that a comparison to me gives her comfort.  Before you know it,  the tide turns, and children don't want to be anything like their parents. Isn't it interesting, then, that, as parents, we now know that things eventually come full circle? At some point we realize that there are days and situations when we wonder what our parents would do and each of us, inevitably, becomes more like our parents than we'd have ever thought possible.

I have a little bit of my mom and a little bit of my dad in me and those are the parts that give me comfort, direction and wisdom. There are times I open my mouth and hear my mom's words come out (sometimes I swear I can hear her voice too). There was a time I couldn't imagine that happening. I am so curious to see what our kids will be like when they get older - not in a rush but curious nonetheless. I wonder if all three will utter my words and hear my voice. Scary...

Pick up a copy of Spork by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault for a heartwarming "multi-cutlery" tale of Spork, the offspring of a spoon and a fork. It's easy to see which attributes this hybrid child inherited from each of his parents but not so easy for Spork to fit in. This is a story of self discovery and developing self-confidence as Spork tries to find a place at the table.

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