Amy Roberts: Born identity
March 31, 2015
Being childless, it’s fair to say I don’t spend a lot of time reading mommy blogs, Parenting magazine or books geared at teaching the latest foolproof methods to prepare your 2-year-old for Harvard or how to raise the next Steve Jobs.
But since becoming an aunt a few months ago, and agreeing upon my sister Michele’s untimely death to assume parenting duties of my niece, Addison, I’ve taken a little more interest in these types of "how to" guides. So far, the best I can tell, provided you feed them on a somewhat regular basis, everything else is pretty much just luck of the draw. You can raise multiple children in the exact same way, do the exact same things at the exact same time in their lives, and still end up with children who are exact opposites of each other.
Michele and I are a prime example of this. We are just two years apart and were raised by the same two people, in pretty much the exact same way. Yet she turned out to be incredibly shy, conservative, reserved, sensitive and traditional. Me? Well, it’s fair to say those are not adjectives anyone would use to describe me.
Michele is also a methodical planner. There is absolutely no "flying by the seat of your pants" in her life. Seriously, she has her Christmas shopping finished by June 15th every year. Sure, I think ahead when I have to, but not like she does. For example, my family is visiting me in Park City over the Fourth of July this summer. I figured around July 1st I’d make a few calls and get some activities lined up. Michele, however, wants to know months in advance what her five days in Park City will look like, down to the hour. The first series of text messages from her a few weeks ago went something like this:
"We land at 6:12pm on the 2nd. Where will we have dinner that evening?"
"Please be sure to buy Dreft detergent for Addison’s laundry."
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"Every day from 1:30-2pm, we have sing-along time. Please have at least three DVDs of animated show tunes on hand. And don’t schedule anything for that half hour."
She also sent me a list of items she needs me to have here for the baby (in addition to the sing-along DVDs). Which means I’ve essentially been on a scavenger hunt this month with my friends who have kids younger than 2. Michele also wants to have a phone interview this week with any potential babysitters that will be needed, after I’ve vetted them first. Which is a mistake because my vetting process goes something like this: "Do you have a pulse?"
After countless texts, emails and phone calls I didn’t answer because I couldn’t deal with my sister’s advanced-planning insanity, I asked my mom how we turned out so different, despite our very similar childhoods. She sighed and said, "I don’t know. You were both just born that way."
"Born what way?" I asked her.
"You were born impatient, restless and reckless. My labor with you was only 20 minutes. You were two weeks early and you were literally born in the car on the way to the hospital. You’ve been in a hurry since conception I guess."
To which I responded, "I gotta go. I’m double-booked and running late."
But later that night I gave some thought to what my mom said. Yes, I’ve always known I’m incredibly impatient. I can’t sit still. I’m often on to the next thing before I’ve completed the first. And I am usually in a rush.
And as I was trying to figure out ways to slow down and counteract some of these behaviors, I realized to make these changes, I’ll need the one thing that drives me most crazy about my sister — a detailed plan. And she is happily putting one together for me.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley.