traits we pass to our children

me & alexandra

Re-post from July 8, 2009

My oldest daughter is a “mini-me”. If you were to take a picture of her right now and put it along side a picture of me at her age, you couldn’t tell the two of us apart. The only clue to giving our identity away would be that my picture would be in the form of a faded Polaroid. This has been great in some ways because is super cute…just like her mother. Aside from that aspect, she also has beach blonde hair, as I did when I was a child. We both have skin so pale that just the thought of UV rays will give us a sunburn. Her face is covered with freckles, which will probably fade as she grows older, just as my freckles have. I am proud to say she gets her creativity from me. She is always drawing or creating some sort of craft. And I love to nurture her artistic side. We have a lot in common, so there is no denying she is “my girl”.

Unfortunately, she also got some of my “bad” traits as well. She can be painfully shy, just as I was. She is afraid to speak up, even to her close friends. I encourage her to speak her mind—“No one can read your mind,” I tell her. “Ask for what you want.” She also has a quick temper. She slams things, like her bedroom door, when she is mad. (The door I removed from its hinges after one too many times of being slammed.) Sadly, that is one of my traits, although I have worked very hard to control that one over the years!

She can be very bossy too. She is always ordering her friends around. I was that way as a child. I wanted things to be perfect and I needed to be in control. That trait has manifested more into a perfectionist trait as I have gotten older.

Lord help her.

But she also has other great traits that I never had as a child and I now envy. She is so much more athletic than I was or ever will be. She is fearless on the ice rink. She never cries when she falls on the ice and is eager to learn a new jump or spin. She welcomes the challenge she finds in ice skating. She wants to learn how to play tennis; more than just her and I hitting the ball around the court. And we just installed a basketball hoop on the garage and shoot hoops almost every night. I broke my left foot shooting hoops as a teenager. (Yep, that’s right. I was only shooting hoops!)

I grew up on a lake and taught myself to swim—my only claim to athleticism. Ironically, she has no interest in taking swim lessons. Sure, she likes to play in the pool at the rec. center, but she doesn’t “swim”. In fact, she is a little timid around water.

I wish we could hand-pick the “good” traits we wanted to a pass on to our kids and leave the “bad” traits behind. It is awful to she her shyness because it brings up painful memories of my own childhood. And that bossiness… I must have been irritating as a child!

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