“MA, I’M NOT YOUR MIRROR! I’M ME!”
It’s so very, very easy to see our kids as a reflection of ourselves. And more scary, to see them as an “opportunity” to remake our lives. I always said I want CONFIDENT children. Because, once I (me) turned that corner into teenagehood, my life fell apart to the point of developing social phobia.
I was confident to the extreme in primary school. I still remember the first day of grade 1. The night before, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. I lay staring at my brandnew white and blue checked uniform hanging from the cupboard door. I just couldn’t wait to put it on and take on the wide world out there!
Once in the classroom, I plonked myself down in the front row, next to a very cute but crying BOY.
I couldn’t comprehend this crying over such a big adventure ahead of us! New friends, books, learning to write…..such exciting things!
And then, I turned 13. I had to get glasses, I put on weight. My school uniform hung beneath my knees. I was a “koek”. ( English : “nerd”, “uncool” )
I got teased. Endlessly. Over my nose, my glasses, my weight, my lack of sporting ability, my talent for music.
Until all my confidence evaporated into thin air. No matter how hard I tried, High School put on another kind of pressure. The pressure to be cute, sporty, part of the “in crowd”.
Looking back now, it was all a storm in a tea cup really. But not to my teenage self! I tried every trick in the book to get to magical “cool” status, but nothing worked! Trying too hard is exactly the opposite of “cool” , isn’t it?
Back to my kids. Farmerboy has been described as “too pretty to be a boy”. Ironic , that.
And hell, yes, it makes me feel good to hear it. He’s also stubborn, wildly active, curious and loud.
But those are all things that HE is.
They are not a reflection of ME. His life cannot be the mirror I look into to see a better reflection of myself.
I have some role to play, but he is a unique , seperate being.
He might end up as a ramp model that playes the bassoon as well as cricket and have a keen interest in world politics.
He might. But then again, he might not.
But his path will be HIS path.