If I’ve noticed one thing about the four children that inhabit my home it’s that none of them are the same. I know, I know, that seems more than a bit trite. They’re different people, how could they be the same?
But they’re completely different . . . while having touches and bits of all these other people. Some of them are adorable. Others, well, they’re as frustrating as they are in the relatives their genetic family tree.
Abbi, for example, is insanely responsible. Most of the time. She and her mother would clash occasionally because she acts an awful lot like her Grandma, my Mom. That’s not a bad thing, most the time. When it is maddening is when she decided she has to be right . . . even if she’s wrong. (OK, I’ve got some of that too, thus the maddening bit) Less frustrating and more annoying . . . she’s like my grandma in the morning. It could be 5am (and often is) and she knows full well the whole house is asleep and she gets up to make herself breakfast. Every cupboard, pan, glass, door and chair is slammed, moved and crashed at full volume. Sometimes I used to think my Grandma did it just to wake everyone up. Now I see there’s some genetic trait that makes her act like a herd of elephants running through the house in the quiet of the morning. She also has a maddening tendency to panic when things only start to look like they’re going sideways. Not when they’re full bore out of control, but even at the point where you could head them off. That’s her Mom. Like her Uncle she has this mechanical mind but has the artistic side from me. Like her Mom, if it’s less than perfect she’s angry. Could be beautiful but all she sees are the flaws – her Mom, a habit I desperately want to break.
Hannah . . . she’s got this horrific tendency to procrastinate. I used to have a major problem with that until I became a journalist and deadlines became the norm. But never to the point she does. She would not turn in work and then lie about it. Not sure where that came from . . .
But as she gained a lot of weight over the last couple years I want her exercising more. But, like her Mom, with that obsessive all-or-nothing attitude she had, Hannah now wants to walk in the morning, during recess, and at night. I don’t want that to become the obsession . . . I want her healthy. She can sing but not exceptionally well. But on the guitar, she’s got passion! That’s from her uncle and I. That’s my claim. I won’t let anyone deny that little bit of pride in my words here.
Noah . . . he’s much like his Mom. He obsesses and has impulse control, just like she did. Those who had issues getting along with Andrea have a hard time with Noah. But I see the same loving, gentle, soft person inside there I did in his Mom. He has amazing ideas. He acts an awful lot like my older brother. He’s very logical, thinks steps ahead, and looks at the end result and the steps getting him there. It’s fun to see but when he can’t control those impulses he gets frustrated. Like his Mom, when things get too chaotic or out of control he loses it. Sometimes all he wants is to tell his side, even if it’s wrong or to confess he knows he was wrong. Too often people don’t give him that time and then he loses control, leaving him at the point where he just needs a hug and someone to calm him down. But he’s adorable, and sweet 90% of the time.
Sam . . . he’s the flirt. Built like a combination of his Mom’s and my Grandpas he has the build of a wrestler. He’s strong as an ox but inside he’s a freaking marshmallow. He has a somewhat innate athletic ability but doesn’t really care to use it. That’s like Andrea’s grandpa. He’s got perfect pitch, the little s&^t. That’s like my Mom. It’s great when they’re singing. When I used to play guitar or sing and my Mom would holler up from downstairs I was flat . . . that was maddening. Not because she was being mean, but because as a hormone laden teen I was mad she was right. Sam is quiet, almost too quiet. When Andrea died he disappeared upstairs for a week. He didn’t watch TV, he just wanted to be alone. Like Hannah, he was attached to Andrea on the hip, almost. Now, he’s got that little smile and will come to the bannister and shout “Hey, Dad!” “Yes, Sam?” “Love You.”
It’s a question of genetics. I can see all the people I’ve loved in all four of them. The funny thing is it’s not the individual pieces that I see. Understand, I get frustrated with banging pans and temper tantrums . . . but the little maddening things mix with the wonderful ones and it’s like a beautiful madness. They’re the sum of their parts and I love that about them.