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A Beautiful Reflection

 In The Artist Date, Weekly Forum Discussion

Written by: Liz Chamberlain; Lizzie Lou Mixed Media

When I was planning to become a mom, I imagined what my kids would look like. I imagined a family with little red-haired kids. One that looked like me and one that looked like my husband — tiny little clones of us. I imagined that they would be well-mannered and well-behaved (just like I was), and good in school too. I imagined that I could help them right the wrongs that I made in my youth, and become confident, independent teenagers and adults. I also imagined that they would eat healthily and have access to any sport or extra curricular activity that they wished to participate in. Of course, I am sure we all dream in this way, wishing our children to have what we would have liked available to us and felt we missed out on. And to avoid any bad habits that were started when we were young.

However, here I am, a mother of two amazing young boys, neither of whom look anything like me. I mean, sure, they are both starting to get freckles, but otherwise, I don’t see a resemblance. They both look like minis of my husband.

Where I do see myself is in any of the things they struggle with or that frustrate me beyond reasoning. It’s as though despite not looking like me, with red hair and blue eyes, they are a direct reflection of all of my insecurities. For example, my one son does very well in school (not straight A’s, but he listens and tries hard). He struggles with his reading, as I did. Not too bad, but something I am embarrassed about to this day. What really gets me though is how sensitive he is. He is a sweet and thoughtful boy, and a people pleaser…and that is where I think, “uh-oh!”  He is very easily offended by his brother’s teasing, or his friends when they are “just being boys” because he doesn’t share their sense of humour, or the confidence to laugh it off and not take it personally. This is something I am still working on in my life. I want so much for people to like me and be happy with me that I often put myself out in order to keep the peace. I hold in my anxiety and frustration until I blow, which is exactly what he does. And let me tell you…this is very hard to witness.

One would expect that having battled with this for years, I would have some helpful insight for my son, some words of wisdom to help him through, to believe in his magnificence as he is, and to be ok with some people just not liking him because no one is perfect, and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with him. I wish I knew how to help him, but I don’t. Witnessing this in him is a reminder that I don’t have my stuff together as well as I would like to think. I still have a lot of work to do.

Being a mother is a constant reminder of all the things I am working on. They bring out the best and the worst in me. I know that every emotional trigger they hit is because of my own insecurity, not because they have done anything wrong. I constantly remind myself to treat them with love and kindness, and hope that they will learn to do the same for themselves when I am not with them to remind them that they are amazing little humans. Often I am reminded of all of the wonderful traits that they emit, and I tell myself, “hey, that’s me too”. I am a wonderful human being. And I am grateful for the reminders, and the lessons. Perfectly imperfect. A beautiful reflection.

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