I am an adoptee. With red hair. I resemble absolutely nobody in my family. Growing up people were always asking me where my red hair came from. If they were strangers, which they usually were, I would just shrug and move on. Yes it was a little awkward not physically resembling anyone you are related to. My mother is 5 foot nothing with dark hair and brown eyes. I’m 6 inches taller with red hair and blue eyes. I was (still am) a bit of a black sheep.
And then I had a daughter. Despite not really being a redhead you could still pick her out as mine in a room full of kids.
I still find it amazing every time I look at her. She’s a little mini me. My pint sized reflection (although she swears she is the cuter one). And as new and awesome as it is for me to finally bear a resemblance with someone (and boy it is), I also know that we have and will always have more in common than some outward physical features. Not only is this little girl a physical reflection of me but I know she will also “inherit” other traits from me, not all of them genetic.
So, I find myself asking the question – in what ways do I want my daughter to be like me? And, of course that also begs the question – in what ways do I not want her to be like me? This makes me take a good long look in the (figurative) mirror and wonder about the reflection I am casting. We all want our kids to grow up to be happy, healthy and good people. But do we want them to be like us? That’s a big question. One that requires a little soul searching and a whole lot of acceptance. Acceptance that our imperfections, our faults, our weaknesses are just part of who we are. That doesn’t mean abandoning the desire or drive to change the things about us that we would like to. Most of us are always in a constant state of trying to improve ourselves, which I think is a good thing. If it’s for the right reasons.
When we think about setting good examples, and being good role models for our children what sort of qualities do we hone in on? And are we confident that we actually are setting a good example? You might think you are a good person. You probably are a good person. Most of us are. Even when we make mistakes. And, here’s the thing, when it comes to our online presence (if you have one) those mistakes, like it or not, tend to be forever. Are you putting your best foot forward in the digital world? Have you written anything, publicly, that goes against the image that you hope your child has for you? I think about this a lot. Being a blogger and being actively engaged in social media I constantly check in and wonder – what would my daughter think if she read that? Would she be proud of me? I post opinions. A lot. I am opinionated. But I truly try to put my thoughts, my feelings across in a way that is not hurtful to others. I don’t lie. I don’t spread lies. I stick up for what I believe in but don’t sacrifice others to do that. I want to, at the end of the day, be able to look in the mirror and think – yes I did right by my daughter today. I have followed through, in my own life, with the values and lessons that I teach her are important.
My daughter wants to be a blogger. She also wants to be a pizza chef. She’s four, I’m sure she will want to be a million things before she discovers her calling. But she knows that I write thing for the world (yeah I’m thinking big I know) to see. And she constantly checks in with me. Mommy what did you twitter post today (everything is a twitter post to her)? That keeps it real for me. That question, asked with innocence and sincerity, is all I need. I know that someday, when she’s actually old enough to read, that she will not discover something that I have put out there that will make her question the person, the mother, that I really am.
It will be interesting to see, as my daughter grows, in what other ways she takes after me. She’s already stubborn so there’s that. And she most definitely got her broccoli loving gene from her father, not me. Of course, even though I lovingly refer to her as my “mini me” at times I know that she is her own person and watching her grow into that person is pretty fascinating. I am her mother and my imperfections are part of what makes me who I am, just as hers are and will be. She doesn’t expect me to be perfect. She doesn’t need me to be perfect. She just needs me to be the best me that I can. Flaws and all.