This post was meant to be part of the Taboo Carnival, where the topic this fall is I LOVE YOU BUT I DON'T ALWAYS LIKE YOU!, but since I didn't even get my submission in on time, I have no idea if it would have been approved. Regardless, check out some of the blog entries for the Carnival--there are bound to be some really great reads.
The things I find hardest to like (or, frankly, the things I don't like) in my children are the things I've retrospectively found to encompass or incorporate my most embarrassing or distasteful traits and characteristics.
My Rainbow is four and a half years old, and not for one moment has she ever refused to be heard. She is persistent in her attempts at communication, and even polite, for the most part. This sounds good on paper, but what it sounds like to the ear is, "Excuse me! Excuse me! Excuse me, So-and-So, Excuse me!" When she's not feeling civil, she just says whatever message it is she's trying to convey over and over until it's repeated back to her. Her repetitiveness can be so irritating, especially when I'm answering her. I do, however, find myself to be very repetitive, and even though I'm an adult and I can make my unforgiving attempts at communication much more subtle...it's still there.
My Cloud is just over three and he loves hard. He inspired the title for this blog. He inspires in me so many things, so much empathy, so much slowing down and listening. He loves me, he loves his dad, he loves his sister and his little five month old brother. That's never a question. Whether or not little Dragon will survive the love sometimes seems to be in question, especially when that love manifests itself as Dragon being the horse and Cloud riding him with the most joyful grin, bouncing up and down as care-free and happy as you'd like any child who's not riding another child to be. I have to physically remove myself from Cloud's presence when he starts hurting his siblings. I don't just let him hurt them. That sounded bad. After telling him in every gentle way I can that we need to be gentler and play in a way that's respectful and blah blah blah, I get to where I want to sit on him. But what am I known for? I'm known for rib-crushing bear hugs, for wrestling and rough-housing, for loving hard--and never for hardly loving.
Both of my children are loud. It hurts my ears. I'm loud. I hurt my ears. Enough said?
The thing that annoys me most about myself is my interrupting. I try to justify it sometimes and say I'm so excited about a topic that I'm having a hard time keeping my comments, even if it's just a boisterous "uh-HUH!!" to myself. But even knowing all that, I still have no desire to be with my kids when they're interrupting. Typically they're trying to interrupt a conversation I'm having with an adult. It's not that I think the adult is more important; I've taught my kids to come put their hands on my leg to get my attention, and then I cover their hand with my hand to let them know that I know they want my attention, and then I ideally finish my thought. I don't finish my conversation, just my thought. Or do I... Nope, I don't. I get interrupted. I really don't kow what to do about it, and it's not something I think about until it happens. And then I start thinking about my own interrupting...
What helps remind me of the underlying LOVE for them, regardless of any ephemeral issue of disLIKE, is their unceasing resistance to my attempts at molding them or hampering their unfoldment or tying them down so their petals don't bloom into the beautiful flowers they are. They are stronger than I am, they are innocent but all-knowing, and that always ends up shining through, as does my love for them. So even when I don't like them, I can still see that glimmer, and admire the persistence or the ferocity. I hope to always be able to detach myself in such a way that I can see something positive in what they're doing, but if I can't...I'll still always love them.