2: an object closely associated with or belonging to a specific person, thing, or office
Before I got pregnant with my first child, when I was just beginning to contemplate trying to have a baby, a doctor told me that parenting is exhilarating, but devastating. He said one of the hardest things was to see something in his children that was a flaw of his own and to think, "I thought I managed to not pass that on to her!" I've certainly experienced that - and anticipate far more of it during the teenage years that loom on the horizon. But today has been about seeing glimpses of myself in my daughters - and feeling more connected to them because of those glimpses.
K is the daughter who is least like me - physically, emotionally and personality. She has my dark brown eyes, but not much more. She is quick to feel any and every emotion - letting them course through her veins and direct her paths (sometimes in a good way, sometimes not), whereas I long ago taught myself to stifle emotion and to never let it make it as far as my actions. She is an off-the-charts extrovert. I'm a bit of an introvert, myself.
Over the course of my nearly seven years of parenting K, I have learned a great deal from her. But I have sometimes wondered how she came to be my daughter. I think a part of me has secretly watched her, waiting for some sign that she really is mine. I got that sign not too long ago, and I saw it again today.
Last week, K had to write a report for Black History Month. She chose Harriet Tubman as her topic and diligently read a book about her before writing a paragraph conveying what she had learned. She finished her project a few days before it was due, so she turned it in the Friday before its due date. K came home that day telling me that all of her friends agreed she had done the best show and tell ever. I smiled and asked what she told them for show and tell. "My report!" she said. I pictured K sharing a few sentences about Harriet Tubman as her class sat in a large circle. My mental picture was a tad off, as I found out when her teacher e-mailed me the image above. Look at that tiny girl standing there so poised.
As soon as I saw the photo, I saw myself in it. I'm not a world class public speaker, but I know how to do it and even enjoy doing it at times. This I could relate to. And I told K so as we prepared for her to go on her school's morning show this morning. She was worried she wouldn't get to the point in a timely fashion (a very legitimate concern for her to have - being concise is not her strong suit), but she had written what she wanted to say in advance and it was the perfect length. She did a fabulous job this morning. She read from her paper instead of looking directly into the camera, but she's only 6!
I'm not proud that K has some new found skill at public speaking or that she's putting all of that talking to good use. I'm just excited to see something in her that appears to have come directly from me. Something that makes my heart say, "Yes! That! I know how to do that, too! We do have things in common!" It makes me happy to think that as she's growing into the person she will one day be, she is taking a piece of me along with her.