~ by Jennifer DiFrancesco
It happened. I knew it would, eventually. It started slowly and then became more pronounced, I see my reflection in my kids. I’ve always been told that one of my daughters “favors” my side of the family, but now it is so much more than looks. As my kids get older and their personalities take shape, I see more of me reflected in them. In one I see the love of reading, in the other I see the love of picking up bugs, and in another I see curiosity and wonder. I must admit, I love seeing the good parts of me reflected in my kids. It fills my heart to hear words like, “She is so much like you” (and they mean it in a positive light). But what happens when what you see is not so pretty, dare I even say, ugly?
Okay, maybe your kids don’t have an ugly side, and maybe I am being a little harsh in using the word ugly. Perhaps a better more accurate word might be brokenness. A desire to be right. A desire to get it right. A desire to be liked. A need to be needed and accepted. A desire to ignore conflict, hoping that if you close your eyes long it enough it will magically disappear (yeah, it doesn’t). Just to name a few. What brokenness do you see in your kids? What happens when you realize that these places of brokenness mirror where you are broken?
As I think about it, with a lot of prayer parsed in, my mind goes to the flight attendant on the plane who, at the beginning of every flight, gives safety instructions. One thing that is ALWAYS mentioned is that one needs to put on his or her on air mask before assisting others. As a mom, my first instinct is to shove my oxygen mask over my kids’ faces and then, if there is a mask and oxygen left over, I will inhale.
As parents we know how easy it is to get tied up in our kids’ lives, especially when it feels like we are always running them from one sport practice to a music lesson to something else on the calendar. Part of me uses this as an excuse (procrastination, maybe) to avoid the hard work of my own spiritual life. I know where I am broken (and hate to be reminded about it), but I haven’t truly done the hard work. That is, I haven’t figured out how the shards of my own brokenness form the mural that is beautiful and uniquely mine.
I am sure there are a gazillion reasons that God gave me three kids who I love to pieces but who also drive me insanely crazy at times. I’ve realized that no one is ever prepared or ready to have kids. No one ever has all of their stuff together and if they say they do or did, don’t believe them. I am, however, sure of one thing. Through self-examination, and doing the hard work of addressing my own brokenness, I will be able to help my kids with their own.