Echoes (part 1)

Miss G is so much like her father, it hurts. Not because I miss him, or miss what we had together, or because I’m nostalgic for what could have been. It hurts because the similarity nauseates me. 

Her likeness to him, both physically and mentally, repels me. Even after over a decade apart from him, even though she is an entirely separate person, her inherent him-ness triggers my protective instincts into screaming get out, get out, GET OUT. The more him-like she gets, the more I feel myself withdraw.

It’s awful.

It’s even more awful because I am absolutely crazy about that kid. She is this amazing, bright spirit who I’m pretty sure will conquer the world. By some miracle, she seems to have gotten all of the good qualities from both her parents, and avoided the worst parts of us. 

In her, I see the gorgeous, untwisted potential of everything her father could have been and should have been and very nearly was staring out at me from my own brown eyes. In her, I also see the capacity for the self-destruction that haunts her father. It terrifies me. 

I see the total disregard for personal boundaries and insanely controlling personality that came close to swallowing me whole. I see his inability to commit mixed with his frightening capacity for single-minded obsession brewing within his daughter, the same elements that combined into the impossible, heady, terrible maelstrom that holds him captive still. I see his same brilliance and his same lack of focus snarling in her constantly. I see courage teetering dangerously close to foolhardiness, and pride edging toward alienating arrogance.

The whirlwind dichotomy isn’t tearing her apart like it did him. Not yet. On my good days I imagine that my hard-won understanding of her father’s true nature enabled me to parent her in ways that honor that legacy. Without knowing the worst possible outcome in advance, maybe I would have parented differently. Maybe I wouldn't have known how to avoid it. Maybe I would have inadvertently crammed all her amazingness into a self-cannibalizing pressure-cooker, doomed to explode someday, taking all of us down with it.

On my less-good days, I wonder if the monster will still get her in the end.


  1. Thank you for writing about this Maarit. I think there are qualities all of us see in our kiddos that can bring them down. The older they get the clearer their personality becomes...and the more adult. We can't brush aside the characteristics that bother us so easily.

    Remember, Gwyn is a Miller too, she has your calm and pragmatic nature to balance her. She is thirteen remember, thirteen is and awful hell. An awful, awful emotional abyss that wants to swallow everyone whole. She isn't done yet...she still needs more time in the *oven*.

    Take heart, you are doing an awesome job.

  2. @Julianna

    Thanks, Julie. She has a strong good nature, and I just pray that will win out in the long run.