It’s scary, being a mother. Knowing that your words, your actions, your very presence can and probably will affect the kind of person your kid will become someday. Yes their father is important and so are all of the other people who surround them, but mothers… mothers it seems, are on a different plain. And it’s wonderful, and it’s scary, and it’s so many things all at once.
I’ve always been sort of closed-off, unable to trust people or smile with ease. I envied people who could laugh easily and make comments without over-thinking them. People who appeared to feel comfortable in their own skin. All of that comes easy to some, and feels impossible to others. And I know after years of trying, that I will never fit into the former. And I’m okay with that.
I’d turn down an invitation to a party to sit alone in silence and watch the sun set behind the mountains until my feet get cold and my ears become numb.
I’d rather sit in the dark and listen to music played by a single guitar than go to a gathering where I know I’d feel out of place.
And I’m okay with that. Because that’s who I am.
But as a mother, I’ve begun to question myself. Do I want my daughter to grow up watching this closed-off, socially awkward person who seems to convey that people are okay alone? I know we are all different and it’s okay for me to be who I am, but I’m not sure if I want my daughter to be like me. Maybe she is one of those people who can laugh easily and make the right jokes at the right time. Maybe she has the power to brighten up a room with her very presence. I worry that my darkness will affect her blossoming personality in some way.
Now, it’s not like I’m always a gloomy ball of solitude. You’ll see me laugh and smile and make sarcastic comments with my family and close friends. But it’s always there, my darkness. Lurking around to make sure that I’m unapproachable in public (my friend called me a man-repeller). And on days where I’m particularly tired and grumpy, I yearn to be alone somewhere, curled in a tight ball. I love my daughter to pieces, but sometimes, I need a little time to breathe on my own. (Guilt washes over me for just writing that… but we’re only human, right?)
So… what will my daughter learn from my words, my actions, my very presence?
I don’t want to pretend to be someone that I’m not, because that would send the wrong message. We are all unique in our own way, and there is nothing wrong with being exactly who you are. But I do know that who I am will affect who my daughter will become someday. It’s inevitable. Do I just accept that her personality will shine through any shadows that I might cast? Or that those shadows will become a part of her someday and that’s okay?
My mind sighs and swirls as I watch my baby girl sleep. In the end, I know it’s all out of my hands.
But it still scares me. Being a mother.
It really scares me.