Still, I think my kids have definitely inherited some of my traits, such as my bad temper, my intolerance for perky people first thing in the morning, my sweet tooth, and my propensity for tripping over a dust mite.
There is one positive trait, though, that my kids have that I take some credit for. It's their goofy sense of humor and exuberance for life. Bil, of course, deserves credit, as well; this is one gene we contributed equally, I think.
Bil and I have always been nerdy. And we aren't afraid to get excited about things. We both know we aren't cool, so we have no reason to pretend we are and act aloof or dispassionate. Sure, we may look like idiots when we are dancing around our family room, but who cares?
When Bil and I were dating, we spent much of our time having picnics, riding our bikes, taking walks in the rain, and making homemade ice cream (we made up some really cool flavors, too). We cooked up strange meals and wrote each other crazy emails filled with inside jokes. We watched kids' cartoons together. Bil even designed a pie with my picture on it made entirely from black, grey and white M&Ms.
Seriously, we are totally weird.
My kids have inherited our sense of adventure and goofiness. They get super excited about all kinds of great things, like going for a ride in the wagon, looking for pumpkins on people's doorsteps in the Fall, and passing school buses on the way home from school. They spent much of December and January staging concerts for us, performing Muppets and Charlie Brown carols with their maracas and castanets. They sang "The 12 Days of Christmas" loudly, joyfully, and dissonantly multiple times a day. In the summer, they dress up in snowsuits and hats and build snowmen out of pillows and blankets, and in the winter, they don their swimsuits and jump into lakes filled with couch cushions. And they love every minute of it.
If they see a caterpillar, Danny and Charlotte will be totally entranced and talk of nothing else until they happen to spy something else fascinating. Last night, the kids were spellbound in the living room when they spied a rabbit in our front yard. They concocted a whole genealogy and life history of this rabbit, who we then spent many minutes naming. The kids came up with all kinds of great names, and then we dissolved into giggles when someone suggested we name him "Puppy." Thus ensued a game of picking the silliest name for our little bunny.
I know that these types of silly games are normal for kids. That's what makes childhood so great. Still, I do believe my kids have a level of enthusiasm that is special; not all kids are as excited to see two geese with their six goslings as we did today on the way home from Meals on Wheels. Not all kids' faces light up when I suggest making and decorating sugar cookies. The excitement my kids show for so many everyday activities, like going to the swimming pool or the library is wonderful. And their ability to be silly and laugh at crazy things is a tremendous gift.
I like to think that Bil and I have contributed to this gift and that we encourage the kids to cultivate it. That maybe we set a good example for the kids when we play hide and seek with them or when we laugh at their crazy jokes and join in. Or when we tease them--as we so often do--by suggesting we make broccoli ice cream or meatloaf cake.
Let's just hope they don't morph into straight-faced, eye rolling teenagers anytime soon.
For more posts about family ties, visit the Spin Cycle.