As anyone who has ever met my family will tell you, I look like my mom. But as anyone who has ever met my family will also tell you, in every other respect I am very much like my dad – who’s been in and out of the hospital since Christmas (back in right now) and therefore has been the subject of my thoughts more than usual lately.
Much of my personality, for both good and bad, is from my dad. We’ve clashed from time to time since I was a teen, as many fathers and sons do — and if we’re being honest, most of our conflict comes down to the fact that while we are motivated by often opposing intellectual beliefs and passions, we embrace those beliefs and passions with virtually the same zeal, behaviors and character. We are, in a great many respects, mirror images of one another — it’s like arguing with yourself, with your opponent using the same rhetorical devices, the same arguments, the same style and displaying the same flaws and strengths that you have. When one’s right hand goes up, the reflection’s left does the same. And in the other, we see both the things we like most in ourselves and the things that most disappoint us about our own selves — only, the flaws are magnified when we see them in the other. This dynamic has made our relationship, while strong, frustrating at times.