Sunday, February 22, 2009

Children hold up a mirror...

I have been inspired, prodded, silently encouraged by another person, and by my heart, to view my children somewhat differently. Dahling, you know who you ahh. And if anyone recognizes the quote with the silent accent I just did, I love you. (Its billy crystal)
Anyway, it has become easy and a habit for me to view Cliff (and Amanda more and more) as a conglomeration of challenging personality traits. I am not exaggerating when I say that Cliff is very strong willed. Stubborn. Unfocused (read: 5 year old boy. I expect his focus to show up when he's about 40) Hyper. Unmovable. But he is alot of other things too: Absorbent. Emotional. Sensitive. Loving. Affectionate.

And I am encouraging myself to view him as perfect in the light of these traits. He is who is supposed to be. And I am supposed to be his mom and I'm probably supposed to be frustrated with him.

I think some of my challenge comes from the fact that my mom swears I was this docile, calm, placid child. I never had a tantrum, she said, because she wouldn't have put up with it. Well mom, I said, you may want to write a book because millions of moms would like to know how you managed to raise a child without any tantrums. Furthermore, if I never did have a tantrum, it would explain why I am a bit effed up now. Anyway, I am *this* person now and I have been *this* person, from what I can recall, from about the 3rd grade. Up to that point, I was terrified of everything and cried every day about something, including being left alone when my mother so much as turned her back for a second in the grocery store.

I have to pause here and tell you that while you can't see it or sense it or know it, I am having a moment of profound enlightenment and terror. Because what I just described as myself is also my son. And I am both excited and terrified to think he might be that much like me.

So I totally lost my train of thought now. My point was that I am challenging myself to view him as more than a cluster of difficult traits. Certainly those traits could serve him well in life. Pardon me while I undergo a self-ectomy and try to remove myself from this equation and keep it on Cliff.

If he remains this stubborn, he will surely make a mark on the world. If he remains this unmovable, he will surely never be swayed from his beliefs or by peer pressure. If he remains this "energetic" he will certainly accomplish alot and inspire people with his positive energy. If he remains this absorbent, he will no doubt be the genius that his father is and remember every stinking thing that he was ever exposed to and learned. And those things will leave marks on him because not all things should be forever remembered. Emotional, sensitive, loving, affectionate - if he remains all of those things (which are beautiful, don't get me wrong, but they do become a source of drama in every day life which is tiring) he will certainly reach a hand out to his fellow man, to animals, to those in need. He will certainly love deeply and hurt deeply and express all those things honestly.

Its my prayer that I can take those things and with God's help, mold him into something great, and not something screwed up. He is a lot to handle. But he was given to ME. Why? Probably because I will understand him better than anyone else ever will because essentially I just, completely unintentially, described myself (minus the genius and stuff) and I am in tears as i type this.

Honestly, if he would just LISTEN and not be such a penis-being in his selective deafness things would be a lot easier to tolerate. But I'm going to try try TRY to be more patient, with him, and with myself.

Now Amanda, well...let's just say that at the ripe ol' age of 13 months, this is what I am seeing. She, too, is stubborn. She is smart and learns very quickly. She LOVES music and movement. all movement: her own movement, Cliff's movement, the movement of water...etc. She loves to sing. She loves to yell. She loves to hear herself and make herself heard. She has a fierce little temper and she wants what she wants and she will not accept no as an answer. She is pretty fearless and returns to what she wants over and over. She adores her daddy and her brother. She loves men. She is silly and has a crazy little laugh. she hates to have her diaper changed. haaaates it. Is it because she has to lay still? I have no idea, but she hates it! She loves food. She does not like it when the dogs invade her space too much (whereas her brother never minded if they knocked him over with their tongues. a male/female difference I think). She loves her binky and asks for it very firmly. She likes to try new things. She likes to go...out, anywhere, bye-bye...just go. She is very vocal when someone bothers her.

At the moment, that latter one is one I hope she really holds on to. And those of you who know me know that I may have inadvertently described myself again. I am not trying to. And there is a lot of my husband in these mixes too, no doubt. I may have said he has a temper a year ago, but really, he has proven to be a pretty even tempered person as he evolves. He does like to try new things and I do not. He likes to travel, and I hate it. He likes many more foods than I do but he doesn't like pasta, therefore that statement nullifies itself. Anyone who doesn't like pasta has some culinary issue of some kind. (I love you Henry, you pasta hater.) Neither of us are hard-asses. Neither of us are very focused, or very organized, or neat freaks. We both love art, culture, music, dance, writing, poetry etc. We are both extremely deep feeling people and are both emotional. He is frugal and I am NOT. He remembers everything and I do NOT. I like danger a bit and he does not.

Anyway, certainly our children do reflect a lot of him too, but I can not introspect for him and I didn't know him as a child. I know he got in trouble alot but I don't know if that was due to temperament of his parents or just his own knack for trouble. He was creative and imaginative.

At any rate, it is my hope that I can do what God intends for me to do with my precious, beautiful, challenging children. Some people get kids that are pretty compliant and they don't need to baby proof their kitchens. Some people get kids that have great attention spans. Some people get kids that can entertain themselves from the get-go. Some people get kids that are good sleepers.

None of those things describes my kids. But it takes all kinds to make the world go round. There has to be some people that are compliant rule followers and some people that are rule challengers. There has to be people that are focused and determined and single minded, and some people that have a grand vision and ideas, but not a mind for details necessarily. There has to be people who are placid and peaceful and there has to be people that are fired up and passionate.

Someday my kids will take their place in the world and do whatever they are meant to do. I am still wondering what exactly I am meant to do. Its beginning to come into focus somewhat, which is really weird. But que sera sera. My ultimate hope is that whatever their lives bring them that they will allow me to experience it with them, and that they will always know they can come to me, and that I love them endlessly.


  1. awesome writing. great insight!! I love this blog!! What a great mom you must be!!

  2. That was a precious accounting and I couldn't agree more. You really need to print that out and put it with Cliff and Amanda's keepsake stuff. It will be fun to look back and read it and say, "AHA! You've always hated blank! or SEE! I knew you'd do something with blank!

    Thanks for putting one more notch in the belt of mommies everywhere. Validation for what an amazing task this is to be the stewards and guardians of these little human people is humbling and I've always thought that there are never enough little shots of encouragement and rallying to press through the intensity and sometimes monotony of it all. Ugh. It lasts so long. And the whole lifetime of "self-ectomy" is grueling! And to think, no matter what, we might as well start a therapy fund nest egg for them because we're effing it up somewhere.