December 12, 2011

THIS I BEQUEATH

Have I got bad habits. Lots and lots of them. Probably at least one for every hair on my head. Look, I'm not bragging about it; just being honest. That might be one of my bad habits right there. I'm pretty open and I really don't think there are many taboo topics. So while I'm being honest others might find me irreverent (at best) or really offensive (I'm sure...many times). In the middle of a story it's not uncommon for Nate to sing out "TMI Tonia, TMI.
So, I've become really worried about Clementine adopting my bad habits. I've heard time and time again that a child's biggest influence is the same gender parent which means I have the honor and burden of being the biggest influence in Clemmy's life. SCARY. Scary because the voice in my head can be really critical and mean and it has an eagle eye for every flaw I have. Scary because I can be lazy. Scary because I'm tremendously addictive. Scary because the fear of failing often stops me from trying. Scary because the pursuit of perfection is exhausting.
I've spent some time talking with my therapist about my fear of passing on bad Tonia-traits to Clementine and have had an "aha" moment. Thru our discussions I've learned that no one is perfect and every parent is sure to pass on dozens of bad habits to their offspring. There's really nothing we can do about it. Any of us. So I'm focusing on something else. If Clementine sees me openly working on my faults, without judging myself, then she'll realize that it's okay to be imperfect. She'll see that life is just a process of working on yourself, to improve what you can and accept the rest. If I can pass this self-acceptance and self-improvement on to her then I'll be forever completely proud of myself. Also, I apologize if Clementine is irreverent or offensive. She learned it from me.
The end.

We were both sick. So we snuggled.

4 comments:

Holly Conger said...

You are an amazing mother. Clementine is so lucky to have you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. My girls will thank you someday too.

Middle-aged Momma said...

Funny, because what you deem to be bad habits are some of the reasons I consider you to be my dearest friend. I hope Clemmy also gets your sense of humor, your love for chips and salsa, your ability to come back with a classic one liner, your sense of style, your ability to be a champion for the underdog, knowing when enough is enough and gracefully stepping back. If Clemmy possess your intelligence, love for books and Diane Rhem, along with the ability to seek a portion of perfection daily, then she too will always be counted as one of my most favorite people.
Great post, T. And you are perfect to me and that's all that really counts. (wink)

natalie malan said...

Love. (both the post and the photo - and I second what middle-aged-momma said)