It’s tempting to look to our children for confirmation of the…

It’s tempting to look to our children for confirmation of the things we want to believe about ourselves. Maybe it’s impossible not to. I certainly don’t fault my father for looking to me to to provide evidence that he was smarter than his career of academic failrue would indicate. And I don’t blame myself for watching the way my older daughter moved through the world and thinking, yes, she takes after me: solitary, calm, stoic in the face of turmoil, graceful in the face of disappointment. But this second kid—who turned 7 today—gave the lie to that myth. From the moment she breathed oxygen she made it clear that she was her own person, not a cipher for us to read as proof of our own virtues. If anything she can seem like someone sent to us to force me to reckon with my shortcomings: she is determined, fierce, demanding, willful, certain. She cannot be understood as the combination of some fraction of Jennifer’s personality and some of mine. And she’s made me think again about how I identify with her sister, and her mother, and everyone—she’s made me think about how much more there is to be gained by withdrawing myself from my understanding of other people and trying harder to see them for who they are. #Zettie #sinsofthefather #mouthsofbabes #happybirthday #monster (at Bushwick Inlet, East River)

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