Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Unfolding lives

As a child you make various assumptions about your future, and as you mature, you think you are choosing a partner with whom you share interests and abilities. So when you reproduce, there are inherent expectations. Or rather, there were for me. Somehow I expected that I would have a lot in common with my children, and that we would share the central passions and interests of our lives.

Life turns out to be quite different. It is not that I don't love my children or admire their abilities and achievements. I do, but there is always some feeling of surprise, that they do not seem to resemble me to any great extent.

They are themselves.

When my elder daughter was born, she looked just like her father. Red hair and all. When I carried her into the pharmacy a few weeks later, the pharmacist commented that no one could accuse me of anything - she had recognised the baby from her resemblance to her father, before she recognised me.

Newborn babies do seem to resemble their fathers. Perhaps this is one of Nature's tricks, to ensure the continuation of the human race, to make babies resemble their fathers. So that their fathers don't take one look, conclude that this child cannot be theirs, and kill it forthwith. Perhaps these refections are fanciful.

The endless variety of life, and reproduction never ceases to amaze me.

As babies grow, they grow into their very own selves. They don't necessarily remain as chips off the old block. Nor do they fit into the same old mould. Human genetics gives us infinite variety. It is all quite amazing.

And we don't know, of course, just what character, talents, characteristics a child will develop. A child is not a clone, thank goodness. We do not have a Brave New World. Not yet, anyway.

Because the character and personality of a child unfolds and develops gradually, we see something like a shutter by shutter  - frame by frame development. Part of the flowering of a human being is genetic, part environment, part chance, opportunity or circumstance. Repression, or lack of opportunity may stunt or thwart development or flowering.

It is my elder daughter's birthday at the end of the week. Living far away, I won't be there to share it with her. I will be thinking of her, and of all her achievements, in so many diverse areas. Of her life, her independence, her relationships, her mothering, her dancing, her positive personality and achievements, and the realisation of her dreams and ambitions. I see emerging some aspects of her life and talents which we share, and her continual expansion and widening of her horizons. I love and admire her. I wish her a happy birthday and many fruitful years. 


Elephant's Child said...

I am always fascinated by the whole nature versus nurture question.
I am also in awe (and tad jealous) of your affirmation of your daughter. My talents (such as they are) are not those of my parents and were not valued. I was in my thirties before I realised that I am not stupid.

Stomper Girl said...

Thanks Mum, thats so lovely.

Birthday celebrations likely to be low key as kids have soccer training and I'm off to Craft Camp the next morning so no doubt will be packing madly.

I remember being surprised at how much personality the newborn babies had - they were themselves from day 1! I don't know that I expect to have common interests with my kids because of the generation gap, but I do hope for shared values, and I think we share values with you. Cx