I recently posted some photos of Ella and Mya. Several people commented saying that Ella looks exactly like me. People have been saying that for years and it has mostly baffled me. I haven’t really seen it. Yes, I have noticed over the years how her eyes have become more almond-shaped like mine. I have seen how our facial expressions, mannerisms, personalities and temperaments are very similar and sometimes eerily so at times 🙂 But physically, I feel pretty blinded to the resemblance. But talk about being in sync, just a few minutes ago as I was writing this, guess who called me. Yep, Ella! We are so alike and that has created our strongest bonds and conflicts.
I have experienced the same things with my mom. When I was 13, I was actually sought out of a crowd by a woman I didn’t know, asking me if I was Linda Shannon’s (her maiden name) daughter. I was completely dumbfounded as she told me that I was my mother’s twin. I couldn’t see it and still don’t when you compare us side by side. But when you look at me next to her teen picture, it hits you right between the eyes. Twinsies!
The resemblance is so striking and about knocked me over when I first saw it. My mother and I are also very much alike in the ways Ella and I share. For the longest time, they were huge obstacles in our relationship. Today, they serve as the building blocks of empathy and bonding between us. We definitely had to have our share of battles to learn how to come together rather than allow the friction to drive us apart.
So back to the physical resemblance…… I think I have such ingrained thoughts that Ella looks like her father because she was his mini-me for a long time. So many times when people tell me that Ella looks like me, a certain picture of her around 3 months old flashes in my head which usually convinces me that she is all her dad. I was actually able to find it. For those of you who know her dad, you know that this picture sealed the deal without a doubt that Ella was his daughter, case closed 🙂 I dressed her in girly colors and prayed for her to grow hair, so she wouldn’t keep getting mistaken for a boy.
By the time she was a year old, she still was a spitting image of her dad, but she was starting to grow into her own. And as she has gotten older, Ella has changed a lot and she is no longer her dad’s mini-me and totally has her own look.
But here in this picture, I see a striking resemblance between Ella and I. Twinsies!
Mya on the other hand looked so much like me when I was little in her younger years. As she has gotten older her look has shifted and she looks very much like her dad and his mom. It used to be “Ella looks so much like her dad and Mya looks so much like you.” Now it’s exactly the opposite, which is so funny. This is a side by side of Mya and I right around the same ages (2-3 years old).
Twinsies? I sure think so!
Mya has been a lot like I was as a child. I called Mya my “silent observer” for the first few years of her life. She liked to be a spectator for quite a while before engaging with people or activities. She still has a tendency for that at 11 years old, although she has come out of her shell so much! As an infant, she didn’t smile at our next door neighbor until she was almost 1 year old despite seeing him almost daily and his jovial, determined attempts to engage with her. He was persistent, he worked hard for that first smile.
I was a lot like that too. I didn’t (and still don’t) like a lot of action and commotion. Many times Mya would prefer a quiet night alone over a party or sleepover with friends. It’s not uncommon to not know where Mya is and to find her in her bedroom, door closed, drawing or coloring. She tends to prefer quiet and calm over action and adrenaline.
I remember around age 10 crying upstairs in my bedroom while my extended family gathered on the floor below. There was laughing and lots of happy engagement. I loved my family and enjoyed being with them, but that particular day it was all too much. Too stimulating and too chaotic for me. I remember explaining to my mom through tears that I needed to take a break. I know now that I was completely overwhelmed and drained by all the activity and people who had seemed to invade my home.
Mya gets that.
All of my children and I are highly sensitive people in different ways. We are impacted by lots of things that many others wouldn’t really be phased by. We are in tune with and feel things deeply and passionately. Our experiences tend to be very intense.
To learn more about Highly Sensitive People, watch this great Ted-Talk.