I sit down to eat with my dad, sister, and one-year-old daughter, Maya. I was overly excited about something (as per usual) and Maya was being her typical energetic self.
"She's like Stitch," my sister says, referring to the rambunctious cartoon alien who causes much chaos with little effort. (Stitch has four arms but Maya only needs two.) She is quite the whirlwind and always has been. She was the most active baby ever in utero, and I remember the days when she was still very new and would kick her legs all around as if it were impossible for her to stop moving. I would spend so much time just looking at her, staring at her face, memorizing it. It's a good thing, too, because getting a good look these days is hard with all the moving, talking, screaming, laughing, and running. The best time to look at her lovingly is when she's asleep, and to be honest, I can't even remember what I do during those moments because they only come once every few years.
I think, I THINK, she sleeps every day. At some point, all the days started running together and I lost track. What day is it? October? Is it 2015? Am I still 24? How long have I been 24?
I've got a few friends who would laugh and tell me she's just like me. I am the excitable adventurer in nearly all of my relationships. The Archer, the "wanderluster", the crazy force that over thinks and over feels. My husband has already confessed when we realized she didn't get as much of his personality as we originally thought, "I'm going to need your help with her."
"Are you saying I'm difficult?" Ahahaha, a trap!
"I'm saying you're wonderful and beautiful and very different from me." ...Nice save, dude. Nice.
Photo courtesy of Reghan Hailey
I exclaim - because I'm always exclaiming - to my sister that I don't understand how she can be so chill all the time, about everything. She tells me not to think about stuff. (Oh, it’s that easy? Great!) I tell her this is just the way I am, because it is. And maybe Maya is this way too. Maybe I'll end up with a daughter who's just like me, but better. Better, obviously, because isn't that what kids are for? We make brand new versions of ourselves, a Reghan 2.0, so we can hopefully be saved in their perfection. We give up our whole selves so they can be the best they can be.
The truth is that I realized she could very well be mostly like me and I was unexpectedly excited. A little mini me! And then I was kind of terrified. Another person just like me? Oh, you poor child!
By my third thought, I got a bit of clarity and realized she won't be a little me. She's a brand new person, a Maya 1.0. She's better than me, but not because she's like me.
But give it time. I'm sure to instill all kinds of dysfunction eventually.