So today’s Photo a Day challenge word is “Mirror”. And I chose the photo above of me and the Polynesian Princess. Let me explain.
Growing up I never thought I would have kids. Ever. I had my reasons, all of them supremely personal and some to do with feeling insecure and lacking confidence in successfully raising another human being. Like everybody, I’m not perfect and I tended to focus on my shortcomings.
But have kids we did, and the day came when the hospital let us take this precious bundle home to raise, love and nurture. Eeek!!
The first couple of years passed in a blur and she was (mostly) a delight. Such a gorgeous, happy baby who was so good that we figured, what the hell, let’s do this again!
The ‘mirroring’ probably started happening around the time she was two (possibly even a little earlier). She was at daycare one day, bossing some of the little kids around. She pointed her finger in their faces whilst issuing directives in a stern tone. I sat, wondering where she got that behaviour from, when I saw her throw sand at someone. I called out to her, pointed my finger in her face and sternly said “we don’t throw sand, that’s not nice”. And Boom! There it was. She was me. And I didn’t like it.
Three years later, the ‘mirroring’ is at times hilariously funny and embarrassingly uncomfortable. Recently, she started frantically tidying up the living room and declaring “we need to clean up all of this CRAP!” and I winced. Not only am I passing on my language, but I’m also passing on my OCD of tidying up.
It’s one thing knowing what you don’t like about yourself. It’s another thing having it mirrored back to you, and knowing that this is what your children see. The part of you that you wish you could bury or change, is the part that seems to stand out to them!
It’s not all bad though. She does tend to copy a lot of my good points, and those are the times when I think good things about myself. But even when I hear or see the bad ‘mirroring’, I try to cut myself a break. We're all just doing the best we can, and if bossing people around and a slight OCD is as bad as it's going to get, then I think I'm doing okay.