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Arguing with a clone of yourself

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

 

I distinctly remember my mother uttering the promise that every parent makes to their children at some point during their teen years: “I hope you have a child just like you.”

Thinking back to the mid-90s, I know this prophetic phrase was shared with me on numerous occasions and rightly so. Being the witty and wise teenager that I was, did I have an answer? You bet I did. “Of course I want a kid like me. I think I am pretty awesome.”

It’s funny how life has a way of giving us what we ask for.

Fast forward to 2002, I had just graduated from college and Christi and I had celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Most couples generally spend a few more years sans children. Not us. That was by far my call. I was ready to be a dad.

Christopher Jackson was born in the Fall of 2003. The pregnancy was a difficult one and that should have been the first sign of what was to come. Jackson was my mini me from day one. Not only did he look like me, but we shared a few mannerisms as well. The realization of what was coming didn’t hit me until we were nearing his 13th birthday.

You see, Jackson is quite the unique combination of my wife and I.

On the, shall we say “challenging” side, he was blessed with my quick temper and her long memory. He is quite the opinionated personality and is quick to share his thoughts. He is fiercely loyal to his beliefs and is quick to defend someone being wronged. We tend to butt heads on a very regular basis. When Jackson and I have one of our debates, Christi asks me how I like arguing with myself. I am quick to reply that I bring much more experience to the table argument-wise.

Generally, Jackson and I, both to blame, in some form or fashion, for whatever problem created our disagreement.

I know that as the parent, I need to be the one to take a step back from the situation and work to diffuse it, rather than ignite it. That’s easier said than done when you are arguing with a clone of yourself. It takes practice. It’s trial and error. I seem to be accumulating far more “errors” than I’d like.

The one thing I do know is that I won’t stop trying. I won’t give up on me or him. One day I will get this right or somewhat close to right.

For now, I hope Jackson continues along the path he is on, but also learns how to keep his feelings and beliefs in check. I love that he is the way that he is. I have never wanted him to be someone that wouldn’t stand up for what they believe in or stand up for someone who is being wronged. I want him to be comfortable being both a leader and a follower, as there are times in life where we play both roles.

When he was younger, we would tell him we hoped he would use his powers for good and not evil. The world needs passion and will like his, but also a healthy respect for when and how to wield it.

 

I know Jackson will do great things; he (and I) just have to make it through his teenage years first.