she’s not a reflection of me
When we are out, a lot of people tell me that Zoe is adorable and I always feel weird about saying “thanks”, which is what I usually say. I mean, I can’t take any credit for how cute she is. I did grow her in my body (and that WAS a lot of work) but the way she looks – that’s just the way she came out. I can’t even take credit for the way *I* look, really (spare tire around my waist excepted, of course). But I think it is widely accepted that our children are a reflection of US and so I just say thanks. I should say, “I KNOW! What luck, huh?” But then I’d get weird looks back and that would just complicate the life I’m currently trying to simplify, so no thanks.
She is also generally happy and agreeable. I can’t take any credit for that, either. That is just how she came out, that is who she is – I didn’t MAKE her that way.
I think a lot of people think that their children are an extension of them; that we are responsible for making them who they are. It is our fault if they turn out to be unmotivated procrastinators who live at home until they’re 40 or if they turn out to be Rhodes scholars we get to take credit for their brilliance. I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong, parenting matters. How we bring them up makes a giant difference, but they have their own personalities and will ultimately be who they turn out to be and that probably won’t have THAT much to do with you (in my humble, not-at-all-credible opinion).
A post over at Simple Mom on this topic that resonated with me:
We are much more responsible TO our children than we are FOR them. Our children have been granted the same power of choice as us. And if you think you can program your child to act, think, and behave a certain way, you’re fooling yourself.
If you have some time, read this heartbreaking essay written by Susan Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. Heavy stuff, though, watch out.
photo from flickr user eyeliam.