I've yet to pass into the pre-teen years with my kids, so I'm afraid I have only my own horrid pre-teen and teen years to use as reference. (Followed, of course, by the college years, the twenties, etc.) [I'm guessing you get my drift. I don't have a child as old as me. Got it.] I don't know, then, whether this phenomenon will decrease as my kids go through more stages or if it will increase.
The phenomenon? Looking at them and seeing a particular them. Take the eldest lad. I can instantly place him as a newborn, as a colicky kid (for all of three weeks), as a sick baby on his first trip to England, as a happy 1-year-old enthralled with the "Happy Birthday" song, as a toddler saddled already with a baby sister, as a 3-yaer-old boy keeping up with his cousins, on his first day of preschool, riding his motorcycle on his 5th birthday. [No, not this. This.] And I really could go on.
At any moment, I can look at him, and he is many hims. Sure, more often than not it is the him he is today. But even that him changes in a blink, depending on external and internal forces swirling around and within him.
All of this makes me wonder about how I am seen by my mother. Does she see the sullen child, the one whom, she repeatedly said at the time, would cut off her nose to spite her face? Does she see the early teen who fell in with similarly aged teens from similar families as they similarly learned to drink and smoke and more? Does she see the older teen, who continued to drink but found an outlet, a haven in high school theatre? Or does she see the wanderer, post-college, who wouldn't settle down? (For all of two years or so.) The bitter me? The worker bee me? The hooked-with-ultimately-the-wrong-guy me? The mother me?
They're all me, of course. It's easier for me to look in the mirror and just see the me I am today. But I have a harder time looking at my kids and just seeing them for who they are today. So I wonder what daughter my mom sees? And I hoping it's the one that's been around for the most recent times. Not one of those hateful, spiteful ones.