It's common among adult women to figure out, somewhere along the way, that they're exactly like their mothers. Some, who have fought against this cultural prophecy, meet this news with horror. Some realize it the way you finally get a joke whose punchline has eluded you for a minute or two. I've always known that I am just like my mother and I couldn't be happier about it. But it's an equally profound moment when you discover that your child is just like you.
When he was about two years old, my son watched the movie Air Bud. At the time, this annoyed me. I very carefully select children's entertainment in order to deal with the least amount of annoyingness possible. Air Bud did not conform to that plan, yet somehow managed to slip through the cracks. The film is one of those classic and timeless :boy loves dog who loves basketball" stories (you know, one of those, she said as if there are a million of those). Tale as old as time: At the dramatic climax of the movie, the boy loses his beloved b-ball playing dog to horrible former owner, but in the dramatic ending, the dog returns to him. Well, it was at the time when the dog came back that my son stared up at the screen and held his hands to his mouth as his big green eyes filled with tears. Those tears never fell. They just stayed there, gleaming, as he whispered, "The dog came back! I don't believe it! He came back!" When the credits began to roll, he finally turned to me and burst into tears and fell into my arms. He kept saying, "Mommy, he came back!"
He didn't need to explain to me what he was feeling, because I knew exactly. I understood the look in his eyes and the profusion of his tears. I knew that he was overwhelmed by the kind of happiness you can only feel after having been through something sad, but a kind of sadness that you dare not explore the depths of until you know there's a happy ending in place. So at the end of the movie, he was crying in happiness and finally allowing himself to feel all the sad feelings he'd felt during the darker moments of the film.
My son is the kind of child who can lose his emotional shit over Air Bud. I am the kind of adult who cries at Zoloft commercials. In this regard, we are soul twins. Recalling this moment recently, I wanted to reach out to other moms to see what moment they realized their child was just like them. Here's what they said.