We Are Our Parents; Our Children Are Us
August 22, 2010
I vividly remember an elevator ride in the tall, concrete apartment building that my parents retired to in Florida. I was alone in the elevator when a woman got on and said, “You must be Lillian’s daughter—you look just like her.” That was more than thirty-five years ago, but it is only recently that I have looked in the mirror, seen my mother looking back, and realized that the woman was right.
A couple of years ago, another elevator “moment” occurred. When I was in Washington DC on a business trip, I was commuting into the city with our son Jeremy. He suggested that I come say “hi” to his new boss at the Department of Education. Again, big building elevator ride. A colleague of Jeremy’s got on the elevator. He looked at me and said, “You must be Jeremy’s mother.” It’s true that Jeremy is the guy version of me—tall and slender, narrow face. But that obvious?
The latest look-alike is really a sound-alike. I work with a woman named Allison who could have been an opera diva. She had seen videos made by our son Seth on the New York Times’ website. She sent me an email telling me that she enjoyed them and added, “He has your vocal cadence.” Something only an opera singer would notice.
We are our parents, and our children are theirs.
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