Here is the tip-of-the-iceberg list of our similarities, and the lessons I have learned from 30 years of life:
1. We are both clumsy. Plain and simple. While this is good for constantly making Daddy laugh, it's not so good for our poor bruised bodies. Lesson to learn: Wear a helmet when biking. Trust me on this.
2. Which brings me to my next point: We have the same skin. Different colors, but just as sensitive. We can develop bruises and scratches just from thinking about falling. Lesson to learn: Sunscreen is your friend. (Also, hives won't kill you. You and I both get them every now and then from shellfish... just keep benadryl close by and if your bootie itches, don't scratch it!)
3. We both have slight OCD tendencies. You make lines with your toys and I make lists. Lesson to learn: Don't let this side of you go too far - you'll annoy everyone. But it is very helpful character trait when you learn to channel it into being "detail oriented".
4. You and I are both cautious regarding adventure. Maybe this is a better way to say it: We are adventurous, but initially cautious. You want to try the big slide at the park, but are hesitant at first. You want to leap from rock to rock but want me to hold your hand the first few times. It took me days to work up the courage to jump off the high-dive at the public pool when I was a kid. Lesson learned: Being cautious can be good - it means you are smart, and are calculating the risk. This is a very valuable skill. But don't let it overtake your sense of adventure - sometimes you just need to close your eyes and leap!
5. Puzzles are our friends. We are good at puzzles and love doing them. We feel accomplishment in a completed project and enjoy the process as well. Lesson learned: Puzzles are great "brain developers". Do them a lot and you'll acquire all kinds of mental skills to go with it. Plus, you will have a LOT of fun with Tex, Dodo and your Great-Mema in the years to come!
6. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Especially when we are tired. It's so sweet to watch this happen to you too - I have done it my whole life. Lesson learned: Just let it go. Laugh so hard you cry, then cry hard. By the end of the cry you'll realize what you're crying about... something you weren't even thinking of when you started laughing. But those deep down things have a habit of surfacing during a display of any emotion - even if it's laughter. Let it out, dude. Let it out.
7. You and I are both very ticklish. Lesson learned: Watch out for Daddy.
8. We are people pleasers! If someone is upset with us, it's the worst possible feeling. I have lost a lot of sleep worrying about whether or not someone is happy with me. Lesson learned: It's good to want to please those in authority over us: God, parents, teachers, legal authority. But it's not good to care so much about making others happy that we lose sight of ourselves. Sometimes people will be upset with you - and that's ok. Maybe you will make your friends mad by not giving into peer pressure - and that's ok. It's a fine line for us "people pleasers" to learn to walk - but I know you'll get the hang of it. I learned this principle recently and it's helped me: "I am only responsible for my actions, not for others' reactions." If you act with integrity, don't waste any time or energy on the folks that don't agree with you. Period.
9. We tend to hide what we're really feeling. Sometimes we can make everything look "ok" on the surface when really, it's not. This is something I have worked on throughout my life and have gotten better about. It's always good to express what you're feeling and to be honest with people if they hurt your feelings - especially to your parents. We love you and want to know what you're really going through.
10. We both have unnatural loves of popcorn and ice-cream. There is no "lesson learned" on this - we just have really good taste in food.
I love you so much, Daniel and could not be more proud to have you as my son. It's amazing (and scary) to see so much of myself in you. I hope you can learn from my life lessons and avoid some of the pain (and sunburns) I have gone through!