When my brothers and I were children, my aunt and uncle tape recorded/interviewed us. My oldest two brothers had a debate on football. My next older brother sounds listed the television shows he watched and the times and channels they were on – he sounded like a human T.V. Guide. Then it was my turn. My aunt and uncle asked me questions such as where I lived, who my best friend was, what school I went too, etc.
When they were ready to interview the next person, I asked to do it again. I said, “I can do it better.” I was no more than 6 years old.
Do you ever wonder when do you become you? When do you display the traits that stick with you for a life time? Is it when you are five and you are headed to kindergarten? Or maybe, 13 when you hit your teens and puberty? Or is it 21 when you become of legal drinking age? Or is it when you become 30 and gain perspective? Or is it when you are born?
When BR, my 9 year-old, was first born his eyes were wide open. I commented on this to the nurse who told me, “Oh that’s common. He’ll shut them soon.” Well, we are still waiting. He is a ball of energy.
BR’s latest obsession is with baseball statistics. He carries around two statistics-filled books around the house (when he is not on the computer viewing MLB.com) as if he were Linus and the books were the blanket. His previous obsession, the presidents, seems to have faded away. Maybe, this obsession, statistics, sticks. He gets a job as a statistician, actuary, accountant – something numbers based. Maybe, he is a numbers boy who will turn into a numbers guy.
When SJ, my 6 year-old was first born, he came out plump with his eyes half closed. I commented about how he looked so sleepy. The nurse (a different one) noted that many babies come out with their eyes slightly closed. Well, SJ is a great sleeper. He is very content to watch television (though he does enjoy the park and his bike) and charges downstairs when I call out dinner time as if he were a bull exiting the gate at a rodeo.
Recently, SJ told me he wanted to be a meteorologist. He used to say Thomas the Train. When questioned as to why a meteorologist, he told me, “This way you get to be on tv and everyone watches you.” His instinct for showmanship is not something new. Every Friday night while we are eating our Sabbath meal, he shimmies on to the coffee table and introduces us to the SJ show. He will sing, tell jokes, and dance. He also bows, says “Thank you, thank you,” and insists that we clap. So, maybe he is a future entertainer of some sort. He is looking for that attention that second children see the first born get.
Then, there is me. I think about that tape my aunt and uncle made. “I can do better.” This thought often goes through my head. It both boosts me up and knocks me down. I am proud of my desire to learn, understand, and grow. Yet, the feeling that I can always do better hinders my feelings of satisfaction. Contentment within myself is not something that comes to me easily.
Do you become you at some point and stay you? Recently, an old friend of mine contacted me – of course through Facebook. I had not spoken to her since my early 20’s – nearly 20 years ago. I wonder if we spoke to each other or to anyone else, for that matter, to whom we had not spoken to in an extended time, would they recognize or see the same qualities?
I suppose there are a core set of qualities, values and instincts, etc. that one retains throughout life. However, maybe you are becoming you every day. Every day you are you even if you are a new you.