Monday, November 7, 2011

A Mysterious Recipe: GBE2 #25 (Nature vs. Nurture)

Some people believe that everything we are comes from our genetic makeup. 

Others believe it's all in how we are raised.

The nature vs. nurture argument has always fascinated me.  I don't pretend to have any answers--in fact, I'm pretty much winging this.  My opinion on the matter is this:  how we are nurtured can be very influential to our personalities and temperament, but some things are just in our nature.
My mother died when I was two years old.  Her name was Riki and she was named by taking the first two letters of my grandfather's first and middle names (Richard Killington).  Growing up, I didn't have much more information than that.  Her death was very hard on my father and he remarried quite quickly after her passing.

I did know that I looked like her.  Everyone said so.  My maternal grandmother once sent me a box full of my mother's childhood photos.  As children, we were practically identical.  Looking at those pictures was like looking in the mirror.  The only difference was that I had dark reddish hair and greenish eyes, like my dad, while she had been a fiery red head with blue eyes.

As an adult, the similarities aren't as shocking but I still strongly resemble her.

My mother holding an oh-so-adorable me circa 1976

Me, goofing around with an oh-so-adorable Bear circa 2010

When I was about twenty, my father's best friend told me some stories about my mother.  He described a woman who was extremely sensitive and emotional...a woman who would cry over just about anything....a woman who held her anger inside as best that she could but, if pushed too far, would be a force to be reckoned with.  He told me about a woman who was slightly scatterbrained, disorganized, and sloppy. 

My childhood home was very emotionally conservative.  I was often criticized for being too sensitive and crying over trivial things.  I was never quick to lash out in anger....unless I was pushed just that wee bit too far.  Then, I was a force to be reckoned with.

We lived in a very tidy home and I was usually yelled at for being sloppy, disorganized and for being an outright slob (It's true, I was a slob...but I'm I'm just messy and disorganized!).

It was often said to me "I don't understand how you can be so smart, and yet so stupid at the same time"--in regards to my flighty, scatterbrained ways.

For the first time, these parts of my personality made sense. 

It's amazing that I could be so much like a person that I can't even remember and be so very different from the woman who raised me.  I love my (step)mom and I feel that she did a terrific job with me.  There are certain values and morals that she instilled in me....but overall, she and I are vastly different people.

Then I look at my own children.  I see myself in every single one of them.  Even Nathan, who isn't biologically mine.  I've nurtured some of what I consider to be my most annoying qualities right into that kid--and it drives me nuts!

I guess at the end of the day we're a product of a mysterious recipe:  take a bunch of nature, a handful of nurture and a few dashes of life experience....mix well....let simmer for years upon years....

Each of us will turn out different than the next.

And that's what keeps life interesting!


  1. Amen and amen! Excellent piece.

  2. This is brilliant!! I love it! How amazing that you have many traits of your mom's and never really had the chance to know her!! Well done!!


  3. Great job! You do look like your Mom! And I love your recipe! ;)

  4. Wonderful take on the topic.


  5. This one was just perfect. And wow, you really do look like your mom!

  6. My dad died when I was really young too. His family lived on the other side of the country so I didn't see them growing up. When I did seek them out as an adult, it felt like coming home. Crazy, isn't it?


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