If your family is like mine (I mean your personal family, not the one you created with a partner), you’ve probably heard repeatedly “you are so like Mom(Dad)!” Most of the time you take that as a negative, right? But when both your parents aren’t around anymore, and Mother’s Day/Father’s Day is fast approaching, I personally am recalling some of these conversations, and I’m reflecting on how I’m perceived by my siblings.
If I think about my 3 siblings, off the bat I’d say my oldest brother is most like my mother – non-combative, friendly, puts his feelings and wants last, a great smile. My youngest brother was a mix, but had the benefit of being raised by my parents as an only child, since we were all out of the house most of his young life. So he maneuvered both my parents by getting out of consequences for his devious (but funny) actions, and being a playmate for my mother. He tested the waters, and in his non-combative way (Mom), did what he wanted (where was Dad in this??).
My sister and I – well, that’s a different story. We share a lot of the same characteristics and thoughts, but we display them differently. She is cute, funny, outgoing (Mom), but is definite and structured (she doesn’t think so, DAD!). She even looks like Mom. I look like my Dad (though in the mirror, I’m seeing Mom sometimes), and I’m internally built like my Dad – meaning I don’t necessarily say what I’m thinking but I’m pretty absorbed inside. If I write the traits that make me similar, I’m sure to get a nod and an “oh, yeah”, and they usually have a negative overtone. Why? Because I like order, I like consequences for actions, I’m quiet unless I have something important to say, I am extremely critical of myself and usually believe others think negative things about me (critical upbringing), yet I’m self-motivated and teach myself to do things in order to get to a goal. Seeking approval is never a goal, but I am a perfectionist (Dad).
Back to the original question – who are you most like? I think we can all pinpoint certain traits, but at my age, I need to be happy with who I am, grateful for the mixture of traits I inherited, profoundly lucky that my parents were who they were. Now, when looking at my siblings, my parents are alive and well in each of them, and I can enjoy this coming Mother’s Day by searching in each of MY children, the traits that their Dad and I have given to them. How lucky are we to celebrate with our 3 children, and all 10 grandchildren, who probably at times, are also questioning who they most resemble. The whole package – negative and positive traits – is who we are, and who we should celebrate.