Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Mother, Myself?

My grandmother, C's mom, was a dynamic woman. She was kind, loving and funny. She was an amazing cook; she could knit like no one's business. She loved dogs, reading, the outdoors. I think it would be fair to say that her biggest fault was that she was too concerned with other people. She knew this and as a result, she raised a daughter who would always stand up for herself.

C will tell you herself that she lived most of her life refusing to be passive. She is fiery and independent, sometimes to a fault. It's oddly ironic that her daughter, me, was much more like her mother in temperament.

When my grandmother passed away in February of 2007, it was a catalyst for C and me. We both resolved to change things about our personalities; I wanted to stand up for myself more and C wanted to learn when to hold her tongue.

C and I were talking about this the other night, and discussing the changes we've seen in each other in the past few years. C has definitely learned the value in waiting to address issues until she's calmed down and discussion will have the maximum positive impact. In turn, I've learned to speak up for myself and not worry so much about keeping the peace at any cost.

All of this got me thinking about how we, as mothers, handle the flaws we see in our children. In my short time as a mother, I've already learned one of the basic truths. We want to be able to fix everything for our children; we want them to have it better than we've had ourselves.

When it comes to flaws, is it better to let our children learn for themselves? Surely, we'd hope, they would listen to the wisdom we've gained from making so many mistakes ourselves. Experience tells me, this isn't always the case. True, I haven't really had to impart much wisdom to M as of yet. Unless you consider, "No one wants to hang out with boys who have poopy pants," motherly wisdom. I do, however, have two younger brothers. Of course there have been times where they've actually listened to what I had to say and applied it. But more often, they have to go through things in their own time and their own way to really understand what I was trying to tell them in the first place.

Why do flaws in our children bother us? I know that I've always heard that the way you know you've found your soul mate is that they love you, flaws and all. If that's the case, why do we want to fix them in our children? Could it be that what we're trying to fix is the reflection of our own flaws we see in them?

I find myself wondering what M's flaws will be. Will he be a champion procrastinator? Or, maybe not a champion since he kept putting off completing the application to the Procrastination Olympics. Will he have issues with organization? Will he be a nail biter? A chronic air drummer? A collector of all things ridiculous, especially dogs?

What I hope is that whatever these flaws may be, I'll be able to keep two things in mind when dealing with them. First, we are all flawed. Second, often it's our flaws that end up teaching us the greatest life lessons.

That is, of course, unless his flaws turn out to be his current interests in shrieking as loudly as he can and drooling. If that's the case, we're going to have some issues...and some interesting teenage years.

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