When I was pregnant, I loved thinking about what parts of my fresh little bundle would be me, and what parts would be Jordon. Green eyes or blue? Pasty white or olive skin? Mushroom or ski slope nose? I never really thought about the other traits we'd be passing on, and I certainly didn't think about the traits that they were almost destined to receive, as both their life givers possess the same ones. Sometimes I want to apologize. Sweep them up, squish their guts out, and tell them I'm so sorry, it's not your fault. You get that from your dad and me. You were doomed from the start. But something tells me that's not a smart parenting move.
Yesterday at the boys' school conferences we heard almost identical comments out of both their teacher's mouths. It's strange to see how cookie cutter they are at school, because at home? Um, no. They're very much their unique little selves. Apparently at school they are smart, (yay!) responsible, (awesome!) respectful, (go you!) quiet, (yeah, a little) put a lot of pressure on themselves, (er... our bad...) serious, don't often smile, and never get in trouble. I include that last one where I did, because Eli's teacher told us point blank, "my goal this year is to have to yell at Eli to knock it off and stay on task. I hope to help facilitate that."
Then there's the overachiever Braedon, who when instructed to take a Timed Test in math, realized only too late that his teacher did NOT say "Times" Test. With tears in his eyes, after struggling to multiply large single digit numbers, he had to confess his mistake out loud. In front of the class. When I was told this, I could see his face in my brain. And I could FEEL his burning cheeks, his puffed up eyes, the lump in his throat, and his shaking hands, because I know that feeling. I gave it to him.
I mean... it's not THAT bad, but in my brain, the brain that I cursed them both with, it's hard not to see THINGS I MUST FIX when I hear these reports.
The truth is, though, it's not fix-able. It's adjustable, but not fixable. I know this because I still live it, I work within its limits at times stretching them, and at other times being crippled by them. I still mix my words when put in the spotlight. I still feel like I'm going to puke the entire day before the first time I meet someone new. I still OBSESS over small mistakes, certain that I have a glowing red look who screwed up indicator on my face. I still take Life too seriously. Under it all, though, struggles and all, I like who I am and how I am. I'm happy.
It sucks that I can't teach happiness.
As the boys get older, I'm starting to understand more and more, that I am no longer their teacher. At most, I'm their facilitator. It is my job to allow them the space to mess up, and to be there when they need it. It is my job... and this one is a doozie... to keep my unsolicited advice to myself. It is my job to sympathize, empathize, laugh with, and cry with my kids. It isn't my job to over-correct, direct, or shape their little personalities. BECAUSE THEY ALREADY ARE WHO THEY ARE.
As parents, we gave them their traits. Now it's our job to give them the tools to make the most of those traits. It's a daunting task. It's an exciting opportunity. It's the least we can do.
The acne, though... they're going to be shit outta luck on that one. Our bad.