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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Do We Change?

MCAryeh wrote a post the other day that got me thinking about childhood dreams. It gave me the motivation to call my mom and ask her what she remembered about me when I was little - what I was like, what I wanted to be, what's changed. It was one of the most interesting conversations I've had with my mom in a really long time. What struck me in reading through the comments to MCAryeh's post was that many women dreamed of being mothers at a very young age. And the truth is, I don't remember being like that. I don't remember taking my dolls and cradling them in my arms, pretending to feed them. I don't remember having the desire to be a mommy. I asked my mom about this, and she confirmed this, though she did bring up the point that I had babies to be mommy to - I had three younger brothers. I asked my mom what I wanted to be when I grew up - she couldn't remember very clearly, though she did recall a lot of acting and dancing that I did. (Addition to story - I just talked to my dad and asked him what I wanted to be when I was little, and he said he can't remember anything either.) While my mom couldn't remember career aspirations, she did remember my personality as a child. It's really fascinating, because she said that a lot of my strongest character traits were evident even when I was very young. My independence, my strong-mindedness, my resolution to choose my own course, rather than be led. She reflected that it made her wonder about nature and nurture - how much of my independence was because that's how I was born, and how much of it was because my parents treated me like a little adult from a very early age? Being the oldest child (and an only child for five years), how much of who I am now, came from the nurturing I got when I was in my formative years (Freud), and how much of it was just ingrained from birth? It's always interesting to hear these reflections from my past - it doesn't happen that often. My family dynamic has changed so much over the years, especially since I graduated high school. My parents divorced, my father remarried, I became religious and moved away. But it's interesting to know that though so many things have changed, apparently a lot hasn't. The core of who I am hasn't. We grow and refine ourselves, but do ever really change? Can we really make the core of who we are different than from how we started? And would we want to?

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