Saturday, April 23, 2016

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Our local newspaper (which I really like) is running a contest (which I really don’t like) in honor of Mother’s Day.  It’s a Mother-Daughter Look-Alike contest.  The blurb about the contest starts out, “Do you have your mom’s smile? Do your daughter’s eyes look just like yours?”

Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with a mother and daughter looking alike.  It just seems superficial.  I have three wonderful daughters who resemble me in so many ways:  their determination, their kind hearts, their work ethic, their giving attitudes.  However, being adopted, and Asian to boot, they look nothing like me.  I feel a little miffed about this contest and it’s not simply an adoption issue.  There are lots of biologically related moms and daughters who do not look alike.  Does that make them, or my daughters and me, less special in our relationships?  No!  I’d much rather have my daughters be the type of people on the inside who exhibit positive attributes learned, at least partly, from me, their mom, than be concerned with whether or not we look alike on the outside.

Perhaps an essay contest would be better.  Mothers could write about what they see of themselves in their daughters.  Daughters could write about what important life lessons they learned from their mothers.  I could write about another trait my daughters and I share and for which I take full responsibility – a paralyzing fear of spiders.  Now that’s a mother-daughter act-alike winner!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Cootie Bugs and Briefcases

A cousin just posted this picture online and it gave me a jolt.  Not only did I have a beloved set of Cootie Bugs, but I realize now the way I cared for the set (always putting everything back in place) foretold what would become, I believe, one of my strongest traits:  being organized.  Both at home and at work (back when I went out for a job) I have always been very organized.  “A place for everything and everything in its place,” pretty much describes how I live and how I’ve managed to juggle the crazy schedule we call normal.

Years ago I realized another foretelling piece of play:  business grown-up.  I’d take my sister-in-law’s briefcase and a bunch of papers she had from some seminars she’d attended.  I would organize the papers into different piles based on color or size or content style, then I’d place them carefully into the slots of the briefcase before carrying it around the house like I was heading off to work.

Thinking of how obviously prophetic these two types of play were makes me ponder what other types of play might have been harbingers to other, more latent, traits or talents.  What do I have left inside me waiting to be discovered?  I think gracious, active aging demands we assume we have gifts left to be discovered.