Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Gene Pool

When you have children, there are lots of decisions to make. How many should we have? Will I be a stay-at-home mom or juggle a job and day care? You eventually answer all of them and embark on the journey that is parenthood. And then one day, as life is driving by you at 200 mph, you look at them and start to see the parts of you and your spouse that are embedded in your children.

For example, my husband is good at math. Math paralyzes me. He does math regularly. I go out of my way not to have to work the concession stand at the gym so that I don't have to calculate change. My kids basically got my husband's math ability. Phew!

I try to keep a neat house - my husband, not so much. The kids - more like dad. (Damn! Although in all fairness, I was a total slob as a child, so there is hope.)

My husband has musical ability - me none, unless you count listening. The kids got dad's genes on that one. Thank goodness.

I do things based on emotion. My husband can be counted on to give a calm, rational solution. Our son, more like dad. Our daughter, more like me.

I'm outgoing, my husband hates answering the phone. Our son is extraordinarily shy, our daughter can talk to anyone.

When things go wrong, it's only natural then, that we blame our spouse. When the math grades roll in and they're not so good, I cringe inside and wish I had studied algebra harder. When our son's teachers tell us they want him to participate more, I can't help but wonder if my husband's peaceful demeanor is at fault. It's crazy, but it's true.

We look to genes as the answer to the questions that plague us. Why is he so thin when we're both pleasantly plump? Why is her hair gorgeous and always perfectly tousled when I STILL struggle with mine after 44 years?

One day you look at your children and see a younger, modified version of yourself or your spouse. The good, the bad and the ugly. In that moment, it takes every ounce of willpower not to shout out: "Oh my GAWD, you did that exactly like your father!" No, this is when we have to do everything in our ability to make them believe that they are unique - a genuine article, unlike anyone else. More special than they'll ever know. Because they are....and they're not.


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