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Meeting myself in my pre-teen
Does seeing yourself in your child sometimes feel like karma?

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 myself

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. Stubborn much?

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 just genetics

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 realisations

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. Emotional tussles

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.

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