Recently, Kris from Pretty All True wrote a post that really got me thinking. It was a very deep and touching post about her differing experiences as a mother to her two daughters. If you have not already read it, you should.
Yes, I'll hold.
::hold music plays::
...How on earth did they make elevator music out of Poker Face...?
...I'll just check my email...
...they're probably reading through the comments....
..."Your blog is very important to us! Please remain on the line and readers will return in just a moment!"
...maybe a quick game of Solitaire....
You're back? Ok, great.
I know that it is expected to have different relationships with different people, so it is no great leap in logic to assume that parents would have different relationships with each of their children. Being that each child is a different person & all.
I also truly appreciate what Kris is trying to say...and not say...with her post. She writes about a gift her youngest daughter gave to her as a mother.
And I understand this kind of gift. My son has given me a similar gift.
Except he was mine before I knew Princess. I grew to have certain expectations of what to expect from kids and from myself as a mother. Boo helped me believe that I could not only like children, but love them as well. I did not like any children much before I had him.
And she? Is pretty much the archetype of what I didn't like about kids before I was a parent...and what I still don't like in many children.
I didn't fully understand this gift he was giving me initially because he was the one setting my expectations of parenthood.
Boo set the bar high. And Princess arrived having been taught some very poor habits and having some personality traits that are very alien to me.
So there is a bit of a gap. And unfortunately for me (but fortunately for my stupid personal growth...dammit...), as the adult? It is my job to find a way to bridge that gap. To try to be a good mother figure to this child that I just don't like much.
My feelings are ultimately irrelevant. She is what she is. Our situation is what it is. And if I want my marriage to be successful? I must find a way to make it work. Preferably without irrevocably damaging anyone in the process.
No pressure, right?
But it wears on me.
And there is the guilt.
Sometimes, I know I'm not being the best parent I can be. I can see that in the moment as it happens. But I'm just so tired that I can't seem to stop myself from letting my real feelings show. I behave immaturely and my irritation is hanging out for everyone to see.
I don't hide my feelings well. But as a parent in a blended family, I find that I need to keep some of my feelings stashed securely in the overhead bin. I'm too cheap to check them...plus, I don't want someone mishandling my emotional baggage and sending it to Abu Dhabi by mistake.
When I'm tired...whether it be emotionally, physically, or mentally...I get all haphazard with the emotion-stashing and they occasionally drop out of the overhead bin and land on my head. Or, as often is the case, on the heads of my family.
So, here I am, attempting to add another member to our family, and I still have not mastered myself. And the fact that I have not mastered my feelings toward Princess? Makes me fear some kind of karmic doom with another child. That this new child will be a mini-Princess. A mini-Princess that does not leave every other weekend to allow me a brief respite.
I was raised religious (not Catholic, so there are no angry nuns with rulers populating my anxiety-ridden imaginings...), so I always anticipate punishment for things I view as failings. I have created great fear in myself that altho I do the best I can do, I do not have the swoony love connection to Princess and therefore? I will have a child just like her that I must develop said swoony love connection to...because I will no longer have the excuse that the child is not "mine."
Kris tells me that love is more than the swoony feeling. And I believe her. I know that she is right.
But still, there is the fear.
The fear that I may be placing expectations upon myself (by having another child) that I may not be able to live up to.
And it scares the crap out of me.