Let me set the scene for you: I’m speaking to my mother on the phone, she’s driving to the gym and I’m still dressed in my PJ’s, because I’m a writer so I’m rarely caught in normal clothes during working hours. I’m explaining, while pacing around my office, about some fundamental shift I’ve discovered in the universe, something that will forever change my life, and I’m talking at warp speed, because that’s the way I usually talk, energy gushing through my words, excitement dancing in my steps. I feel completely alive and when I finally allow for a break in what has been a constant stream of dialogue, my mother chuckles.
I want to know why, of course, and she says, “You sound just like your father.”
This hasn’t been the first time she’s said this to me, and I’m guessing it won’t be the last. Because, let’s face it, I am my father’s daughter. We are similar in some frightfully, familiar ways. There may have been a time when I would have denied even being related to him, but as my teenage rebellion slipped, and as I began to let the unfolding of my personality happen, I found myself seeing more and more of him in me.
To start, we are Dramatic Feelers. Anyone who knows either of us can attest to this. When I was a little girl, my parents would always tell me I was either black or white, there was never any room for grey. I was all in or all out, you were my favorite or I hated you. To quote my father, “I’m either the king of the universe, or the scum of the earth.” We never feel anything halfway. This makes us dramatic, the life of the party, or at times a real bummer to be around.
You’ll see this in our writing too. The darks are darker and the lights the brightest. We long to feel the entire struggle and all the joy. The roller coaster is real, but we love the ride.
We are Forever Storytelling. This is a trait people recognized in me early on. For example, I was young, maybe nine, and a Girl Scout, naturally. We were having a pray time for something, I don’t really remember… but I do remember thinking in that moment that I’d wished I had a great story to tell. So, I made one up and told my Scout Leader that my dad was traveling the world, when he was really just a couple towns over on business. When my mom picked me up, the Scout Leader said they would all be praying for my father’s safe return home. Well, you can imagine how that turned out for me.
I got caught doing this often when I was little, before I learned to channel that energy onto a piece of paper and keep fiction where it belongs. My father is the same way. He’s always explaining the ways of the world in analogies and bedtime tales. It inspired my imagination then, and now, often times, my novels.
Also, we are both Obsessive Compulsive. Surprise, surprise. We don’t like things out of place. Part of this is due to the strict structure we have both built, and is needed to write day in and day out. A sense of discipline that has bled into other areas of our lives.
For example, my mother tells a funny story about my father: we were kids; it was just JT (my younger brother) and I at the time (my sisters came later). Mom had done laundry and left the basket of clothes sitting on the couch to move onto the next task, telling herself she’d put them away later. They were folded, mind you, in neat little stacks, inside the basket. It wasn’t as if they were strung about the room. Well, the basket goes missing. She can’t for the life of her remember what she did with it, and can’t seem to find it anywhere. A couple of days later, by chance, she finds it behind the couch, tucked away where no one can see it. Apparently when my father had come home that day, he’d thought “This laundry basket doesn’t belong here on the couch, so instead I’ll stuff it behind the couch so I don’t have to see that it’s out of place.”
So, if you’re ever at my house and see my husband searching for something that he left out in plain sight, chances are I’ve stuffed it away where is doesn’t belong, just so I don’t have to look at it being out in the open.
We are Introvert Tricksters. Most writers would say they are introverted, which simply means they re-fuel from being alone, rather than being with people. The same is true for both my father and I. Though we tend to be tricky about it.
We are good with a crowd, great on stage, and energetic, which often confuses people when we admit that after hours of speaking with living, breathing humans, we need a moment alone with the voices in our heads.
We are always, Waking Dreamers. Sometimes talking to my father can be exhausting, because he has so many ideas. He’s an out-loud thinker. So am I. My poor husband could attest to the hours of time I’ve forced him to listen as I talk myself in circles about the same storyline, or the same hurdles I’m facing. I don’t necessarily want him to respond, I just need to bounce my voice off him.
The same is true with my ideas. I watched my father take on the world, watched him dream of being the best and striving for it. He wanted as much of this life as possible, and I often feel the same way. It’s hard not to get caught up in the glimmer of success. It’s hard to find contentment in each moment.
Thankfully, my dad has learned that nothing in the this life satisfies the way our Heavenly Father does, and in learning that truth for himself, he has infected me with the same idea. And for that I am forever grateful for.
In the end though, we are both just Children of the King. Actually, that is true for all of us.
We are the same, you and I, you and my dad. We are all connected because we are children of the highest Father. Brothers and sisters called to dine at the same table and live in eternity side by side.
This life is the journey of discovering we are all connected together. It’s true that I have reflections of my dad in me, traits that I’ve learned from him, but we all have reflections of each other. Because we truly are all the same.