I have a confession to make; a secret to tell you. Now that you're over two, I think you're old enough to handle it. I've been trying so very hard to keep it from you, but I think that you're starting to suspect that something's up. So it's time for me to come clean.
I am a completely imperfect mother.
Dearest son, I am so flawed that sometimes it gives me nightmares.
I wanted so hard to overcome these shortcomings; to become the perfect person that deserved the unconditional love and devotion that you shower on me daily. Sadly, I am learning that this is simply beyond my capacity.
I am flawed in so many ways that I simply can't recount them all. Every day, new flaws pop up when and where I least expect them. Sometimes, I manage to keep them in check...for a minute, an hour, or even a whole day...But ultimately, they wind up rearing their ugly heads again, reminding us both of my extraordinary imperfection.
Of all of these flaws, there is one that shames the most. It doesn't show up often, but when it does it fills my mind and my entire body with an angst so powerful that it would almost stir the emotions of the most impassive of emo kids.
This flaw usually passes quickly. I am able to muster all of my good qualities to come and combat the badness right out of me. But it is there, even momentarily. And for that, I am filled with regret.
I have had this flaw since I was a young child...as long as I can remember. And for a long time it dictated who I was and who I hoped to become. It was only in meeting true friends, like your father, that I learned that I was stronger than this flaw and could overcome it.
I call this flaw: The need for normalcy.
I've never needed to "fit in", per say. Which is probably a good thing because I've never really "fit in" anywhere. If I am not leading the pack (by choice or by circumstance), I am often excluded from it entirely...and, to be honest, this is actually completely ok with me. I really have only ever needed one "pack", one tribe to call my own. The one that I've been fortunate enough to join needs no followers- we all lead, each in time and each in turn. It is a truly magical circle of friends.
But while I've never needed to fit it, I've always needed to feel "normal", as in "fitting with the social norms". It's fine to step outside that box once in a while- to dabble with a crazy hairstyle, or rebel against a teacher, or take up a bad habit or two in your young adult years. But even these rebellions are, in their own way, very normal. They are expected phases of growing up, part of the ritual of belonging to a society.
No, what I mean here is much worse than that. My phobia lies in the idea that those that fail to fit the social standards that we deem to be important, whether it be in looks, weight, intelligence, career, or other norms, are somehow less valuable as human beings.
I know that I have not always and will never fully conform to the social values that dictate our world. I've learned to come to terms with the fact that I will likely never again be a size six, or have the beauty that can only come with youth. But I've always felt that I somehow made up for these shortcomings by excelling in other ways. I was an extremely strong student. I have always been very successful in my career. I have a wonderful, traditional family with a beautiful home and everything a woman in her early thirties could ask for.
My life is very easy, and very socially acceptable.
And then along comes Sammie. The love of my life. The sun in my sky. The dream that I never dared to hope would come true.
You, my love, came into this world with a thunderous roar and have been tearing down norms since the very day you were born. From the moment you came into my life, I knew that there was nothing normal about you. You do not beat to your own drum...you conduct your own damn orchestra, and the entire world watches you in awe.
There is nothing you can't do, but you will only do these things on your terms. You are master only to yourself, and you do not follow the orders within which your growth should occur. You bounce over some milestones years before you should, and then hold back on others to the shock and confusion of your family and your doctors. And, deep down inside, I know that you take tremendous joy in the fact that none of us can figure you out.
I love this about you. I've never met anyone like you, except for your father. He is the only other person I've ever known whose laissez-faire attitude about social conventions actually makes him more likeable, more successful, more influential. You are, beyond the shadow of a doubt, his son...and I quite simply could not be prouder.
But, I am flawed. So flawed. And I have my own insecurities to wrestle with.
I confess, there are moments where I wish you were more normal. Where I wish you followed instructions and followed the rules, just like the other kids your age. Where I struggle to keep my fear in check, and have to remind myself constantly that there is nothing wrong with being unique.
Sammie, my love, I am so afraid that this is a flaw that will plague me throughout your entire life. I am so afraid that I will, consciously or subconsciously, try to subdue your impulsive, commanding spirit that I love so much. That I will make you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or somehow less special because you are not like the other kids.
I worry that I will focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths, and that I will constantly compare you to others. I worry that I will fail to recognize your moments of genius because I am too consumed with my fear that you are falling behind. And most of all I worry that I will impart on you this awful flaw, and teach you that it is more valuable to try to fit in than it is to be yourself.
I swear to you that I am going to spend my entire life working to keep this flaw in check. I also know that your Dad will always be there to remind you of just how amazing you are, just because of who you are. I know that the good moments between us will unquestionably trump the bad.
But, when I do falter and when I do fail, please promise me that you'll remember this:
These fears are my fears. These flaws are my flaws. They do not belong to you, and they were there long before you came into my life. WHO YOU ARE IS THE ONLY PERSON YOU EVER HAVE TO BE. I am the one who needs to learn, not you.
I love you, more than words can say.
This post is part of my September Blog Challenge. I will be posting a new blog post on (at least) every other day of the month, for a total of no less than 15 posts throughout the month. The purpose of this challenge is nothing more than to push myself to continue using writing as a way of releasing energy and opening my mind.