We have a joke in my family called “the payback child.” This would be the one of your children so much like you that you will experience all the specific joys and frustrations your own parents did raising you. We thought that since our children were adopted, we might avoid this particular foible of the parenting life. No such luck.
My daughter is exactly like me. Her adhd is a little more severe than mine waswhen I was a kid (and undiagnosed), but for all intents and purposes, it’s the same thing. She’s the dreamy artistic one who doesn’t quite live on the same planet as everyone else. While I took solace in comic books and writing, she draws and scrapbooks and obsessively organizes her legos. Different expressions, same impulse. She even looks like my side of the family. She’s short like I am and has really gorgeous coppery hair. We’ve spent a lot of time together over the last year and I’ve been struck by exactly how much she shares my impusivity and propensity for running off bunny trails to find an interesting deer trail and then a side road leading to the freeway. Let’s not even discuss our organizational skills.
My wife and her brother were totally different, highly academically skilled (it’s both wonderful and intimidating being married to someone smarter than you are, just sayin’) and possessed of a deep ability to focus on a particular task in a way that seems very alien to me. My son is the exact same way. He also shares their inability to endure frustration. So much comes easy to him that when he hits up against something that is just a little bit challenging,he has to go through a rather lengthy tantrum phase before he can muscle through it. He looks almost exactly like my brother-in-law did at that age.
My son and I share similar interests and my daughter and I have the same personality. My wife and daughter have similar interests and my son has her personality. It works out despite that lack of genetic ties. Make of that what you will.
But there’s one issue emerging that’s going to take me a little bit of adjustment. I am not now and have never been a sports guy. I could never quite click with the rules of various sports enough to really understand them. My dad wasn’t a sports guy either, and my attempts to play always ended up with the other kids yelling at me because I didn’t know what I was doing. Coaches and PE teachers never really tried to help, either.
So, of course, my son is a sports guy. He’s good at baseball and wants to be on the school team. He goes to basketball camp and I am told he’s really quick and a good shot and has a lot of potential. He quickly rises through the levels at gymnastics. This stuff is easy for him. I can’t relate.
But I’m going to. I’m even a little bit excited about it. I will go to his practices and his games and pretend I understand what is going on until I actually do. And I will watch him grow up into a six-foot tall athlete who is also really good at math, and wonder how it was that this happened.
But I’m still going to encourage him to join the drama club.