“She’s just the spitting image of you.”

I look up from the table to see a pair of smiling women gazing fondly down at my daughter and me.

“Oh, thanks,” I say with a smile of my own. “We get that a lot.”

We exchange a few more pleasantries before they move on, leaving us to our lunch. If they only knew, I think. Because, my dear girl, while we so clearly share the same oversized eyes and full head of hair, what swells my heart is what they don’t know:

We are so similar inside, too.

I see it in the way your mind ticks, how quick you are to invent a story or admire a cute animal or beg for a new adventure. I see it in your less pleasant qualities, the ones my own mother always warned me would come back to bite me one day.

For every sassy retort or stubborn moment of conviction, I see myself—even my same expression—staring back at me.

I see our similarities at our worst moments, when we’re both tired and cranky and the witching hour has sunk its claws into us both. When you meet my own snap just as readily with your own. But I see it in our best moments too, the way we both love to cuddle on the couch when we’re happy or sing at the top of our lungs in the kitchen while I cook dinner.

We’re so similar now, daughter of mine, that I can only imagine we’ll discover more and more things in common as you grow older. Which is why I want you to know…

We make mistakes.

You’re just a toddler, and you probably already know this. I’d love to tell you that we’re these perfect unicorns that get it right every time, but that’s just silly. We are the type of women who are sometimes rash and always imperfect. As a result, we don’t get it right every time.

But here is where having a few years on you comes in handy: I know that the important thing is that we always pick ourselves up after. We apologize. We try again. And we love each other regardless of the mistakes we make.

We’re fighters.

Sometimes it means our competitive spirits drive us forward (for better or worse), and sometimes it means we’re the one you want in your corner. That same spitfire stubbornness that makes it so difficult to get you to pick up your toys? When you’re a bit older, we call it conviction. You and I are women of principles, and we stick to them no matter what the popular opinion may be at the time.

It’s my job to help you learn right from wrong, and in doing so, I also want to foster that innate bravery you possess to help you hold your ground even when doing so may be difficult.

We are sometimes overconfident.

I like to think it comes as a result of paying so much attention to the world around us (a side effect of those big eyes), but sometimes we think we know more than we do. It can get us into trouble (see the aforementioned: we make mistakes), but that confidence can be an asset, too.

It means we try when others would give up. It means we fight for others when it would be easier to walk away. Learn to harness the good side of this trait, and you will be unstoppable.

We’re compassionate.

I see your oversized heart in the way you always notice someone else’s sadness and you have to try to cheer them up. I see it in the way you celebrate happiness, whether it be by repeating an antic that makes me laugh or cheering on a classmate at gymnastics.

You and I embrace our empathy. Foster this trait. Far from a weakness, it’s what will help you create the deepest friendships and most meaningful relationships of your life.

It’s not always easy being so similar.

The days when I’m venting to a friend about a difficult day, and they smirk wryly at me and say, “Gee, I wonder where she gets that?” But know I secretly thrill at every trait we share in common. I know there are and will be so many ways that we are different, but it’s our commonalities that will bond us as we share more and more of life’s experiences.

And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll too have a child you share so much with as well.

Like mother, like daughter. ?

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