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Always the same

September 9, 2012

Yesterday when I was driving along my myself, I suddenly felt the expression on my face. It was this exact expression from my first grade school picture:
First Grade School Photo 1967

That’s my expression when I’m getting through something I don’t really want to have to do because I’m unnerved or sad or a little scared. In the photo, it was because it was my first school photo ever. Today it was a dear friend’s mother’s funeral. The determined expression is because I’m trying to go through it with some kind of grace and calm and appropriateness because that is what one does.

The 51-year-old me met the six-year-old me in the loop of that one expression, pulling me back through the years, reminding me that I’m exactly the same person in so many ways.

We grow, we change, but we are also born A Person With Stuff In Us. Parents, especially those with more than one child, marvel at it. “They just come out with a personality,” they say.

With one child, it is easy to either blame or praise parenting skills for who the child is. As the sample size grows, the more obvious it becomes that newborns are already people, not just a blank slate.

The precipitating event for this post was a Facebook update by my niece, who had gone tent camping with her husband and five children. They had a great time, a fact I find semi-astounding.

I was always the kid who didn’t want to be camping in the tent. If we had a trailer and a tent, I wanted to be inside the trailer. What I really wanted, though, was to be in a hotel with a Swimming! Pool! and an ice machine and vending machines and beds to jump on.

Guess what? I still want to be in the hotel, not camping.

And while my family was always trying to economize (with five kids to feed), I flatly refused to eat burgers on the rare occasion we ate out. I wanted the most exotic food on the menu, which, at Fred & Myrtle’s Drive-In, was the shrimp basket, and God forbid if I didn’t get my shrimp. No cheeseburger for this kid.

Fast forward four decades.

“You always have to get the weirdest thing on the menu,” says the guy I’m dating. Like there’s something wrong with that.

I always wanted to read and write, never to do math or draw or do P.E. or make crafts. And here I am, with four blogs and a writing job. I still have the math, drawing and crafts skills of a moderately talented second-grader. And I’m just starting to like exercise. I’ve never been on a sports team and probably never will be.

What about you? What has followed you through your entire life?

4 Comments
  1. September 10, 2012 14:01

    About four years ago, my siblings and I had pictures taken for mom for mother’s day. Every picture Janell and Randy have their eyes closed. Every picture I have my eyes open and the exact same smile on my face. I think if you looked back at Easter portraits, you’d see the same faces on all of us.I will be the one that makes everything better. The fixer.

  2. September 16, 2012 08:57

    Pretty much all the same things you have. No camping, shrimp, writing, no math. Maybe we were separated at birth. My mother would love that, she wanted more kids.

  3. September 21, 2012 15:02

    You and I had the same 1st grade haircut. I find that awesome.

    My “happy place” has always been the beach/ocean. Even when I was a baby. I was a miserable toddler for an entire family vacation-until we got to the ocean. That has never changed.

  4. September 21, 2012 22:52

    Thankfully my family were never campers. Yuk.

    My ‘resting face’ is a somewhat downturned mouth that has become more pronounced with age. For some reason it prompts old men to exclaim ‘cheer up, it may never happen’ which will elicit my default face which is ‘get away from me or I will cut you’

    Which is way better that my besties resting face which is ‘just stepped in dog shit and it smells’

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