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We were at the beach this weekend with close friends. Watching the kids on the swings swinging WAY too high, I was reminded about how I used to jump off of swings as a child. Sharing the story, my friend had a realization. “She’s you,” she said. “You always say you don’t know where she came from, but she’s you.” And at once I realized she was right.

My mother tells all sorts of Karen stories. The time I drank nail polish. The other time I saw a garbage fire in the kitchen and calmly came to tell her that it was on fire. How I would spend my days sitting up in trees. Reading, yes, but still in trees. The time, after I got mad at kids out at recess banging on the Horizons program window, my third grade self decided to pick up the school intercom and call the main office to tell on them. “They are interrupting us,” I told the lady who worked at the front desk.

Those are just the things my mother knows about. She has no clue about the Bronx subway rides I took at 2 a.m., the second story windows I scaled in and out of our house, the time I switched from being a passenger to being the driver of a car going 100 MPH on the Wantagh Parkway — too many to list.

And the attracting bumps and bruises thing? Yeah, that’s still something I deal with. I have blogged about my teen and adult experiences extensively, but as a child I ran in front of a metal swing (20 stitches to my lip), had a bookcase fall on top of me (I was climbing it; it fell over), and fell while jumping on the bed (stitches in my head for that one). There are more, I am sure. I was always up to something and usually it was not a good idea.

After realizing all this, I also realize why my mother was constantly stressed. Single widowhood aside, I must have made her wince on a daily basis with my fearlessness. Just like I do when I consider Little Girl’s daily trials. Like last weekend when she climbed the refrigerator to get cookies. She fell down on the hard tile floor, and I added more stress lines in my forehead.

I do have hope, though. Hope that like me, Little Girl will become more sensible and start being more cautious. Today, I am fearless when it comes to some things. Others…not so much.

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