Are you more like your father or your mother? In what ways?

This is a really tough question.  I clearly look like an Otto, my mother’s side of the family, as does my sister and youngest brother.  I got my hairline from my grandfather Maurice Otto.  My Dad was six foot tall, had dark hair, and weighed a constant 150 pounds, none of which describes me at all.  My mother was about 5’2”, had blond/brunette hair, liked Manhattans, and was a frequent visitor to her chiropractor.  So while I’m 5’9”, the rest is a perfect fit.

My Dad was a pretty smart man, being an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Dayton.  I think I have similar smarts, at least those kinds of smarts.  My SAT scores for math and science were right at the top, calculus was my favorite college course, I dropped philosophy and couldn’t manage better than a “B” in English.  Computers and programming came easily, all that logical stuff fit neatly inside my brain.  

As I was raising kids I came to the realization that Dad primarily taught me to be responsible and my Mom taught me to be happy.  To me, being responsible is how you treat other people, and being happy is how you treat yourself.  They are not opposites but work together.  I don’t see how you can truly be happy if you treat others badly, but living your life solely for others without ever considering yourself is foolish.  That balance is who I think I’ve become.

By the slimmest of margins, I think I’m a bit more like my mother.  That probably wasn’t true in my 20s and 30s, but as I grew older, Mom’s wisdom was the guiding light I used to navigate all sorts of personal and professional challenges.  

Best of all, I had both of them.  And I miss them dearly, even after all these years.



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