A month or so ago I was scrolling through Instagram when a friend had posted picture of her and her daughter with the caption that was something to the effect of “we’re so alike we drive ourselves crazy.” I laughed and immediately went to comment, because I can so relate to that! My oldest son Hayes and I are alike in the most frustrating ways. Neither of us have any real sort of patience with life. We love things to be on our own timeline, when we have our minds set on something, good luck trying to sway us! We are needy of our loved ones’ time, easily disappointed, unreasonable at times, and overly senstive. Wanna have a play date? Just kidding.
Now don’t get me wrong, Hayes is one of the most incredibly sweet and amazing kids I’ve ever known, and I am insurmountably proud of him everyday. It’s just that when those all too familiar frustrating personality traits witness themselves in him, it sort of throws me back to my childhood. To a time when those same things got me into trouble, caused me heart ache, made me feel sad or small. I simultaneously want to hug him and tell him it will be okay, and also run and hide, because seeing how hard it is to deal with a Mini-Me shakes my self-concept to the core.
Now back to this Instagram picture. I was reading the comments on the feed, another friend said something that sort of changed my life. (See darling husband? Instagram isn’t a complete waste of time!) She said that she believed we are sent children that are just like us as a way to teach us to more fully love and accept ourselves. Even now, a month later, reading those words sort of paralyzes me into a deep reflection. I am constantly holding myself to this invisibly high and unattainable standard. To do better, be better, lose the pride, forget the need to be right, say “sorry” first, be less critical, be more fun, be less self-absorbed, be better understood. A never ending game of personality addition and subtraction. I picture it like those cartoon accountants with their green visors, never-ending calculations and miles long strips of receipt paper, and it’s exhausting.
So what does this mean for Hayes and me today? It means nurturing the noble qualities, and teaching him better ways to cope with the frustrating ones. It means asking myself everyday, “How would three year old Emily have wanted to be treated in this situation?” and trying my darndest to do that. To picking my battles, to saying “yes!” and “sure!” and “of course we can, Hayes!” as much as I can in a day because positivity means everything to the both of us. After a few short weeks of this, I almost can’t recognize myself as Hayes’ mother, and I am seeing more of the amazing Hayes, and less of the frustrated short-tempered Emily. It has been absolutely wonderful, self-healing, and my Fryday breakthrough.