Do you remember being a teenager? I do,
vividly. It seemed to me like some people sailed through those tumultuous years
and I slogged. I was the epitome of teenage angst and growl, so it was with a
little trepidation that I realized…my daughter is now a pre-teen. Meeting
My mother used to laugh at my surly ways, quipping
that “one day, you’ll have your own child and that will be karma for all of
this.” I am still desperately hoping she is wrong, but I’m – at least somewhat
– convinced that she is right.
Every single element in my daughter’s personality that I view as sometimes
frustrating – from her occasionally indecisive ways, to her deep-seated
stubbornness – are all part and parcel of who I am. Worse still, I know that
those elements were at their most fiery apex when I was in my teens.
Perhaps even more amusing to figure out, is
that these are the exact same realisations my own mother had with me, because
all those things I pick out are the same elements she had as part of her personality
too. She was immeasurably stubborn, and I know that was something passed on to
me too. Not
Sure, the physical family resemblance is there – I see oodles of my parents’
and siblings’ features (and mine!) reflected back at me when I look at my
daughter. But there are mannerisms too that, at first, used to jar me, but now
they are a comfort. The way she throws her hands in the air for something she’s
excited for – that’s my mom – and the way she rests her head into her chest
when thinking – that’s my dad.
Perhaps these are learnt mannerisms, and
perhaps I have them too. I like to think though, that they’re tiny little signs
from my parents that they live on in the children of their legacy.Hilarious
My fiancé laughs when I am battling with parts of
meeting myself in her. He’s (probably all too often) been confronted with the
very same elements in my character that serve to frustrate him. So while I’m
sitting there, chatting to my daughter as she stubbornly sets out to stress herself
out over something, and I’m trying to assuage her stress levels, he laughs and
says something like “oh look, it’s you!” All these things I am ‘guilty’ of as a
person, that sometimes leave me frustrated with my own self, I deal with again
as I look into her eyes.
Here’s the thing I remember the most from being a
teenager: I viewed almost everyone as the enemy, and threw myself into writing
angst-riddled poetry that ended up being the very start of my individual idea
for what I wanted to do with my life.
In that respect, it was good for me, because it enabled me to carve out this ideal
in my head and heart. In another sense, I absolutely isolated myself from
people who loved me, even when I was a grumpy face at the dinner table.
If there is only one thing I wish for my pre-teen kid, as she faces this
beginning of her very own chapter, it’s that she knows to be gentle on herself,
and that she should pursue the things that fascinate her now, because they’re
the things that will lead her into adulthood. But please, sweet child, be
gentle on you too. I will hold your hand the whole way.