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Her:     “Mom, read these.”

Me:      “What is it?”

Her:     “I’ve written poems. Please read them.”

There are a few moments where as a parent one is blindsided by the inexplicable ties that bind us and the traits we inherit from our ancestors. Today I had one of those moments.

She thrust a neat pile of carefully handwritten poems on my lap, and asked my opinion.

Her:     “I need you to put my poems on the computer so that everyone can read them.”

Me:      “Okay, but how did you…”

Her:     “Do you think people will like my poems?”

The simplicity and sincerity of the question struck a chord. How many times as a child, adolescent, or later, as a student, did I, with false confidence and easily fractured ego, offer my words for dissection and appraisal? Countless.

Her:     “Do you like these as much as that other poem, ‘The arrow and the song ‘ ? ”

Better than Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?

Me:     “Yes, love, anything you ever write I will like a thousand times more than Longfellow.”

She sat beside me as I typed her poems into my laptop, and resisted my suggestions.

Me:     “You mean ‘wisdom’ right?”

Her:     “No mom, spell it the way it is: wizdome.”

She may have inherited my family’s love of words, but her stubborn character and unwavering conviction to get it on paper? — those she has B to thank for.

It is gratifying and comforting to know that in some small, tangible way, we live on in our children.