Thursday, January 1, 2009

To My Children

I know that I can be somewhat cynical where my children are concerned. And not towards them, so much as to my own emotional ability to raise them and be fair to them. So let me make a few things clear, both to remind myself that I'm not entirely lost as a parent and to go to a place I don't often go here.

My children fascinate me. I've come to realize this more often in the past couple of months. I think I'd forgotten it for awhile. While I positively loathe pregnancy, I remember being fascinated nonetheless with the concept that I was actually bringing a new individual to life. I remember the anticipation of meeting this person and seeing who he would be (because yes, I totally wanted to know what I was having before I actually had it ;-).

My children continue to fascinate me. They're so small and yet so complete. They have opinions and ideas that are entirely their own, even though Alistiar and I and their other care providers have striven to influence them with ours. And while they have this definite individuality, they are also clearly a product of the two of us and our families. Watching these tensions develop into another person is so intriguing. I get to know them more and more everyday and yet they continue to change in small ways everyday.

I suppose my fascination with their individuality is what informs my parenting (what little of it I actually do). I'm not so much interested in shaping my children as I am in meeting them. I certainly try to make sure they understand important basic concepts, such as "torturing one's little brother (or anyone for that matter) is wrong", "respecting others is important if we want to be respected", "other people see the world differently and that's okay", etc. But in general, I like seeing how they react to problems, I like seeing them interact with others and I like sharing parts of myself with them. I admit it's gratifying when they express interest in the things I want to share with them, but I also admit it's fun to watch them develop their own tastes.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I love my children, fiercely. It's been good to remember this. Indeed, if I'm honest with myself, it's been good to discover this. Theron and Gareth, if you ever have the chance to read this, go in peace, be well, and know that every word of it was written in honesty. 

11 comments:

G said...

lessie, this is beautiful. what a woman you are.

darlene said...

Wonderful sentiments and beautifully expressed. Your children are loved and I hope they always know that.

I, too, was more excited by the persons my daughters were becoming, than the babies they had been. I am still excited and proud of them as adults.

angryyoungwoman said...

This is beautiful, Lessie. Your boys are so lucky to have you.

mfranti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mfranti said...

"It's been good to remember this. Indeed, if I'm honest with myself, it's been good to discover this."

...and in my case extremely difficult to express freely to the one who needs to know it most.

i'm glad you did this. do it often.

for those of us lacking the hardwired 'mom gene', it can be painfully difficult to be a single mom and still make sure the kid knows that you love and cherish and care and like him/her (because all of those are not always apparent to the child).

i had a shitty role model and i was so consumed with surviving, i forgot to take time and write such wonderful things to my daughter.

sigh. there is my only regret in life. not outwardly loving my kid more.

lessie, sing to them. play with them. talk to them. listen to them-more.

whirlygirl said...

Hi Lessie. I think we knew each other in a previous life...If you ever lived in a log cabin in Oklahoma, this is Eve. If not, I'm still happy to have stumbled upon your site & am very interested in reading your blog, as it looks like we're going through somewhat similar processes, though, from glancing over your front page, you're much better at articulating it than I am! I think this comment will be seen by you before showing up on your site...you don't have to publish it, just leave a comment on my blog if you're who I think you are!(I saw a comment on FMH by "Lessie" & thought I'd follow the link to see if it's the Lessie I knew in YW.)

whirlygirl said...

And, umm, i don't know how anonymous you intend your blog to be, so I'll not read it, any more than the first few pages that I have, in case it would be weird for someone you knew to be peering into your life without your knowledge & permission. Just so you know :)
Also, Cassie sent me a message on facebook about your mom. I'm so sorry for your loss.
I've missed you!
ok, that's all :)

JohnR said...

I've never seen you demonstrate anything but love for your little ones. In Mo culture I think that utter suppression of self is all too often mistaken as maternal love, and conversely, that if you don't sacrifice who you are for your children you somehow don't love them enough. I'm glad you've broken out of that influence.

I agree with Melanie that the challenge is helping your children to realize this. Keep on keeping on, my friend.

Lessie said...

Thank you guys for your comments. Whirlygirl, I'm so glad you found me, I'd missed you too!
Mfranti, JohnR and Darlene, thank you for your support. G and AYW, thank you as well.

Hollis Henry said...

Beautifully written!

"I'm not so much interested in shaping my children as I am in meeting them."

So good to remember. I'm not entirely sure it's possible to shape them as much as we'd like to think we do anyway.

Alistiar said...

thank you for your post keep up your love for your love has always been true.