Friday, October 23, 2009

The Feat of Parenthood

I find myself gazing at my kids' feet frequently, particularly for someone who, as a general rule, really dislikes looking at feet. Specifically my own. I have many fine qualities, both physically and personally, but my feet are simply not one of them. (At least aesthetically - I need to stop knocking them, because they treat me very well in the various activities I choose to do.)

I happen to think that Clare's and Danny's feet, though, are adorable. Probably because they, happily, do not resemble mine in any way, shape, or form. Which really makes me think about what my offspring have and have not inherited from me. I'm hard-pressed to figure out what physical attribute Clare gets from me - I've been told that if a stranger saw the two of us in a room full of people, they would never put us together - but she definitely gets certain personality traits from me. For example, her OCD tendency to put things away immediately, or straighten things that have gone slightly askew. In fact, I just ran off to straighten a Halloween decoration that I noticed earlier was a bit crooked. I kid you not. Blame my maternal grandmother, who was notorious for re-arranging ornaments on our Christmas trees upon her arrival.

There's also Clare's need to cut to the chase with a story or piece of information she thinks is important, often trumping the pleasantries of social norms. I've been known to do this, especially with a Tim who has freshly returned from work. Though, I am much better than when we were first married.

Of course, Clare also gets plenty from Tim (and I'm not just talking about her looks). Her studious intelligence, her obedience, and her serious focus all reflect Tim as a child. She's more social than he was, though, which is back to little Lizzy.

Danny's traits are still developing, and I think his characteristics are going to be more subtle blends. He's outgoing but doesn't command the room; he loves to play with boy-like gusto but is also capable of sitting quietly with books or art projects; and he loves to make us laugh. And, while he's not a carbon copy, I don't think I could get away with abandoning him on a street corner. Er, not that I've ever considered this.

I suppose my awe resides in the fact that we have produced two unique individuals. We can see ourselves in them when we want (or don't, depending on the situation), and we can sometimes take credit for them (even when we shouldn't). In the end, though, they are their own selves, right down to those cute little piggy toes.

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