A huge part of being a parent is apparently just having to sit back and see which genes and traits your child picks up from yourself or your spouse. (Or at least it appears to be in our case, but, as we often hear, our case is not necessary the most normal one.)
You say nice stuff like “I hope he’s tall like you” or you might even hear a sweet “I hope he has your smile.” (I personally didn’t hear this one. Nor did my husband. We both kind of struck out in the teeth department. Plus my smile looks like a grimace. It’s not pretty.) These are the cherry picked traits that you truly admire in your significant other. Things you can’t seem to manage to acquire for yourself or just weren’t born with. You just hope the next generation inherits them so that they might be better than you. The idea of parenthood, the best I can tell anyway, is to try to pass on the best possible collection of genes and characteristics you have to your offspring. Basically form a super version of yourselves.
Of course, for every good trait you hope to pass onto your child, there are about five that you hope end with you. Never to see the light of day again. Heart disease, allergies, wonky toes, twitchy eye, etc… These are those things you pray you don’t see in your child.
Everybody has at least one thing that, even if they wouldn’t change it about themselves, they would never wish to send it anyone else’s way. Justin’s is his eyesight. He really is practically blind. His eyes are lovely, but mostly useless without medical enhancements. Mine is my anxiety problem. It’s just absolutely useless. Over and over again we’ve both expressed desire that Brody is a worry-free child with 20/20 vision. Fingers have been crossed. Prayers said. Spells cast.
This Tuesday Brody left the eye doctor with a prescription for his first pair of glasses. He then woke up at 2 a.m. on Thursday morning worrying about an assignment he forgot at school. We have failed at creating our ultimate super combo. Perhaps we should have made some kind of blood offering.
Obviously, Brody is still awesome even with our flaws laid upon him. But it’s still no fun to feel responsible for giving your child a trait you know is going to make their life a little harder, even when there’s nothing you could have done to change it.
This is where Justin gets off slightly easier. Eyesight can be fixed. Almost instantly, actually. Brody has his new glasses and has already taken to them well. He can even have corrective surgery later if he chooses. It’s something we didn’t wish for him, but seems to have been managed pretty quickly.
The worry and anxiety I have gave him are a different story. How do you teach your child to manage something when you’re no where close to managing it yourself? I still have tiny panic attacks throughout the week and find myself worrying about things that haven’t happened – or may not ever happen. It’s my least favorite thing about myself and and I don’t want it to be that way for him. I want him to learn how to handle it early on and I guess that’s the challenge for me too. To try to teach both Brody and myself that life is too short to worry about every second, or if we think we have to, to try and find a healthier way to do it.
Something tells me it’s going to be way easier for him than it is for me. He is a slightly superior version, after all.