By the time you are in your thirties, you have some semblance of who you are. First and foremost, you know that you are not fully developed as a person. You are constantly changing, growing and maturing. I personally believe we do that until the day we die.
However, you’ve had enough years pass to know that as a person you have strengths and weaknesses. Some of these can be a great source of pride. While others can cut you like a knife.
An aspect of parenting that I did not anticipate is what it would be like to see these characteristics, in their own forms of course, in my children.
They’re all there. It can be amusing and it can be difficult to see these plain as day and know that they originated from you.
I have had the privilege of seeing my loving nature and kind heart reflected back at me through my children and in how they act to each other. The way they’ll go to comfort someone if they’re hurt or feeling down. The way I see my older children touch the face of or take the hand of their little sister. It can be something as simple as the tonality and phrasing with which they speak to her. The words could be coming directly from my lips in the same manner. These actions and feelings of empathy, love and kindness thrill me to see.
My daughter, A, has an incredible love for the written word. She devours books. Eats them alive in the same exact veracious manner as myself. B had this crazy thing he does when something is really, really funny. You can’t get him to stop laughing until he’s almost falling over. The two of us can make each other roll on the floor. Same laugh as myself. Same craziness when something is humorous.
Those are some of the good things that I’ve passed along. But, in the dark corners there are the things that make you cringe. The things that for the life of you, you wouldn’t have wanted to share with them.
My daughter, who is 7, already fights against anxiety issues at times. No! No! No! Don’t take that from me. Run the other way! My son, who at times is timid to speak out loud, can struggle to make his thoughts and feelings known. No! Let your voice be heard. You are bright. You are intelligent. You have wonderful things to say and contribute to the world. My youngest is so stubborn and bull headed that it comes back to bite her in the ass most of the time. To her I want to scream that sometimes you have to realize that there are others who know best. Give in once in a while. It won’t kill you. I promise.
I wish I could share my insights with them. I would beg them to please learn these lessons early on. Don’t wait years to figure them out. But you see, I’ve been there, done that. I already know when it’s better to head in a different direction. Unfortunately, it’s not my life to figure out. I have one. I’ve worked 35 years on it. I’m still learning and working and trying to be a better person. Trying to overcome my own obstacles.
As a parent, it’s hard to not make everything easy for them. Not to want better for them. But, in some respect, it’s theirs to figure out now. These aspects of their personalities are tough. It’s hard to see those traits reflected back at me. So, we coach them. We try and lead by example. We make modifications to ourselves. And we hope that like all of us who came before, they too will overcome what was given to them.