I had a little ritual with my son when he used to be little.
Sometimes when snuggling I would sit him down and tell him a little story.
I would tell him about the biggest most precious gift I ever received.
It has been ages since I told him that little story, but I still remember my son’s eyes turning big in anticipation as I got to the end of the story, revealing what the gift was.
“The gift was you,” I said.
And I proceeded to tell him how happy the gift made me and how loved he was.
No matter how many times I told him the same story, he never got tired of hearing it.
And I never got tired of telling him the same story.
I had promised myself very early on in life that if I ever had children, I would make sure they knew they were loved. As far as I was concerned, they would never have to deal with low self esteem or feel unwanted.
For most of my childhood, I spent time excusing myself for being me.
I tried to change myself, copy others, or suppress things that were typically me.
I apologized a lot. When you spend that much time being aware of what you are not supposed to be, you’re under a lot of pressure.
I used to bite my nails almost to the point of bleeding and I was shy and clumsy.
I broke things, I fell a lot, I bumped into things. It was a hard task, trying not to be me.
Today when I look at my middle child, who is almost like a copy-print of me, I laugh at my attempts.
That kid is so present, so alive, so wild, so loud, so emotional, so outspoken, so amazing.
There is no way to tone that down. And what a waste would it be to do so.
My kids have taught me that it is okay to be exactly who you are and that the flaws and the twitches are what makes a person unique.
My kids have helped me accept myself. I see myself when my daughter is persistent. I see myself when my oldest child gets emotional, I see myself when my kids do silly dances and I see myself when one of them nestles on the couch and disappears in a book.
It doesn’t bother me that my daughter feels too shy to speak around strangers, or that my son is difficult when he feels overwhelmed. Nor does it bother me that my daughter is chaotic and would forget to bring her own head to school, if it wasn’t attached to her body.
I see me.
Whenever I look at my kids, really look at them, my heart bursts with love.
I have always promised myself that whenever I had kids, I would give them the space to be themselves.
What I never expected was that through my love for them, I would learn to love and accept myself more.
And that is truly a gift.
What gift have your kids added to your life?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Mirjam of The Netherlands. Photo credit to the author.