Thursday, January 15, 2015

And You're So Much Like Me

I had a parenting revelation a while ago that stopped me cold in my tracks.

It was a conversation with Nathan {and then one later with his father} that brought me straight back to second-grade. It was like watching seven-year-old Jessica go through the motions from an outside perspective. I know what's on the other side, but I can't intervene. I just have to watch. Although anxiety is a common thread for primary perfectionists, that wasn't what hit me so hard. It's genetics. My kids look more like their dad, but I still see myself. And I'm not just talking about big brown eyes.

Standing in the bathroom, clutching a little piece of plastic, you aren't thinking about the full scope of what this new life will inherit. You aren't wondering if they'll be afraid of commitment or quick to judge. You don't think about whether they'll repeat your mistakes or suffer from your insecurities. You're just focused on the happy. You vow to encourage, strengthen, and protect. You wonder if she'll be the next president or he'll discover the cure for a debilitating disease. When these little bundles arrive, you watch their eyes for color and check the napes of their necks for curls. Their mother's nose, their father's smile, and their grandpa's big feet.

But genetics are weird. Pieces from every part of each parent are passed down by multiplying cells and the grace of God. Copies are made, data is transferred, and life is formed. Bright eyes and crippling anxiety. Fear of failure and a love of reading. A green thumb and jealous tendencies.

It all gets jumbled into a big mess and is delivered into your arms. Quickly they grow out of their onesies and you realize your babies aren't exempt. They still have to face fears, get discouraged, and figure these things out alone. Just like you did. Just like you're still doing every day.

However, the bright side of reliving your childhood is that you can help. You have been there before and even when they're teenagers who think you don't know a thing {ugh, MOM}, they'll need you. Sometimes it hurts to grow up, but it's inevitable. Life is messy, but it is ours.

Our kids don't need perfect parents or a promise they'll get it right. They need love.

Have all you parents out there ever considered this? What are your thoughts? I don't know if my description is the best, but this feeling has been weighing on my heart. Apparently, getting past potty training doesn't mean smooth sailing in Parenting Land. That being said, I vow to love my kids through the pain of growing up, and do my best to provide them with what they need to get through it.

Even in the teenage years.

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Unknown said...

There are worse things they could emulate! They are lucky little kiddos and your prayers and truth will carry them so far!

Jessica Bauer said...

Bless you, Keisha!!