My son is a thoughtful, book-loving, slightly nerdy soul. He has also been known to be ditzy, intensely focused, and gets teary with any and all emotional thoughts.
He is me.
He’s so much me that it completely freaks me out sometimes. He is me in the way he reads a book so intently that a Mack Truck could drive through the living room and he wouldn’t even notice. He is me in the way he is calm and collected for months at a time and then his sister crosses her eyes at him one day and he cries for three hours. I have found that raising a miniature me can be enlightening but also the most annoying thing in the world.
Here are 10 reasons why:
1. When he does something dumb, my genetic makeup gets blamed. Like, when he forgets that he is brushing his teeth while he is brushing his teeth and just stands there looking confused, my husband will say, “Oh my God, he’s so you.” It’s awful, but it’s true.
2. I’m not a very good adulting example. He can hardly take me seriously when I am hollering at him to not to talk with his mouth full, but he can’t understand me—because I have my mouth full.
3. I know what he is thinking, which isn’t always good, especially when he is glaring at me after I’ve taken the iPad away.
4. I see him battling the same demons I battled. Learning common sense comes to mind. It’s learnable, but everyone laughs at you a lot until you learn it. I once swept my parents garage with the door to the house open and managed to cover the entire place with a fine layer of dirt. Yup.
5. I don’t get nearly as frustrated with my other child. She acts just like my husband, and I have learned how to deal with all of that.
6. I have come to realize how frustrating I am as a human being. I don’t listen very well, I have no sense of direction, and I forget stuff all of the time. I am so annoying and so is he.
7. I really want to help him figure stuff out. But ultimately I know he will do better if he fails on his own—just like me. He has to fall out of that tree, hit his face with the tip of that hatchet, and run into a million poles.
8. At parent-teacher conferences, I am now the parent, having to hear all about things that I did at his age. It can be mortifying. Love letters, crushes, goofiness. At least it’s followed up with good math scores.
9. Trying to reason with a younger version of myself is, well, like, trying to reason with a younger version of myself. We can talk circles around each other until both of us are so frustrated that we want to throw each off of the deck.
10. And I have to watch myself go through every painful social situation all over again. He has a tender heart that will be broken many times. He will feel awkward in large groups. He will feel lonely at times.
The best I can hope for is that I will be able to guide him a bit through life, probably not in the right direction, but that’s why we had his little sister.