In Ben Folds’ “Still Fighting It,” he sings, to his young child, “You’re so much like me. I’m sorry.”
I love the song, and I love that line, though my enjoyment of the words was pretty much abstract until my first daughter came into my life and showed me what I would have been like if I had been born a blond girl.
Some of it is positive, I think. She genuinely laughs at what I laugh at. She’s into bugs and sharks and owl pellets. Her favorite part of “The Empire Strikes Back” is at the end, when Luke gets his new robotic hand, and she can perfectly imitate the twitches he makes as the droid jabs his fingers to make sure the synthetic nerves are working. She tells stories and gets lost in the telling.
She also gets frustrated like I got (and get) frustrated. She gets inordinately angry when she doesn’t immediately grasp and master a new skill. Being right is incredibly important to her in every discussion/debate/argument. Vitally important. As important and inevitable as gravity.
Throughout my childhood, my parents often told me that they hoped I’d someday have a kid just like me. It was a blessing, I think, and a curse. While my firstborn daughter—my firstborn child—looks like my wife, she acts like me and seems to think like me. I can’t tell if it’s nature or nurture. Sometimes (as when she suddenly exclaimed, on the way to kindergarten, “Dad, the future turns into the past!”) I am thrilled to hear my voice echoing somehow in hers. She’s fascinated by science. She falls asleep reading, with her book still propped upright in her hands—an ability I’ve only seen demonstrated elsewhere in myself (actually, I’ve been told of it, since I’m unconscious when it happens).
But she is so, so stubborn. When my wife and I are feeling charitable, we call her “willful” or “persistent” or “committed.” But most of the time we just say she’s stubborn—though we do take comfort in knowing that the challenging qualities of today will someday benefit her when she’s a supreme court justice.
An anecdote to end this on:
I once gave her a dollar I had in my pocket when I got home from work.
Her: Oh, thank you! You’re my best daddy!
Me: Oh yeah? Who’s your not-best daddy?
Her: You, sometimes.