Lately I find myself noticing more and more bits of myself and my husband in my children. One in particular has my voracious love of books, they all (to varying degrees) have his love of music. One is more melancholy while another is more pragmatic.
I don't know how much of "us" seeped into "them," but I do see huge chunks of our personalities reflected in theirs. This makes me both proud and worried. I love when I see one or another of them at the table, with pen in hand, working on a new story. I am grateful that my middle child can laugh things off with a toss of her golden hair and a smile. I worry when one of them sacrifies too much of themself to buffer the pain of another. I wonder if they inherited that nasty martyr streak that is too often passed from mother to daughter. I wake up in a cold sweat wondering if the melodrama that I am all too often a witness to comes from some childhood phase or from genetic code.
Don't get me wrong, I really wouldn't change a thing...because to change a part is to change the whole. But there is guilt (isn't there always) in knowing that just as my son's red hair and asthma came from from me, so did his "suck it up" attitude...for which I doubt his future wife will thank me.
The good and the bad--we pass them both on to the future, in our words, our actions, our beliefs. We propagate them in our children. This knowledge has led to more than sleepless nights than I care to admit. I find myself taking inventory of my imagined "Sins of the Mother," and every mistake, every sharp tone, and every moment of maternal imperfection come into sharp focus in the dead of night.
I have always seen myself as a "glass half full" kinda gal and, since we are being brutally honest here, my husband is a decidely "the glass is half empty" kinda guy. I tend to, in general, take things in stride. I believe in making the best of things. My great-grandmother taught me that "if something had to be done, that you were the person to do it, that it was best to get on with it." And this has worked well for me.
My husband told me once that he was really annoyed by the "Nike Ad Approach to Life"--those people that say that we should "Just Do It." (This approach, however, makes perfect sense to me.) He points out that if Just Doing It were so freakin' easy that everyone would be successful. (But they can be! a part of me screams silently...ok, maybe not so silently, I am not particularly good at silence.) I realize now, though, that maybe that is what he saw...that life was hard, that the world was out to get them, that they were cursed...whatever seed that was planted so long ago and ultimately came to fruition inside him...his inheritance and his demon...this thing that tangles him up everytime he tries to take a step forward.
I want to plant seeds of love, faith, tolerance, dedication, hope, determination, gratitude, self-worth, compassion, self-reliance...so many things. I hope I plant the right seeds. I hope I nurture them. I hope to see them grow to fruition.
I hope I can sleep tonight.