Sometimes getting to know yourself better comes in the form of mocking. Not the kind of rude, grounds-for-punishment imitation, but the type where your kids know you so well that they finish your sentences and playfully exaggerate your mannerisms. My daughter will play a song and then ask me if I like it. Then, without waiting for me to answer, she’ll say, “It’s okay.” I have a tendency to give redundant answers. And, let’s face it, many of today’s top hits are barely tolerable. She also repeats one of my favorite and perhaps overused lines daily: “I’ve been going and doing all day.” That’s my follow up to, “Why?” when I already told her, “No!” Unfortunately, she’ll never get the extent of what “going and doing” truly means until she has children or runs a household of her own.
My children also make me think about what I stand for when they try and use my words in their defense. I always tell them that I don’t care what other people think. Translated that means that I’m going to parent the way that I want to parent based on my own judgment. Then comes the cold weather and I’m telling them to wear their puffy coats with fake fur trim instead of the usual sweatshirt so nobody will think I’m a bad mom. I actually use the words “bad mom.” Not that being cold will make them sick, but rather I want them to dress like they have a mother looking out for them Have I mentioned that my favorite stage of this whole mothering gig was before anyone could talk? I’ve been knee-deep in back talk for years.
Who needs a mirror when you have children? That one-dimensional reflection is only skin deep. That doesn’t describe my nagging voice and how I sometimes stare into space when I eat. Mirrors don’t show how I often tap my fingers and gesture when I talk making me wonder if there are some Italians in my gene pool that nobody told me about. I’m sure that I could’ve learned the real me from my spouse. I just wouldn’t have listened when he dished it out.