Like most of us, I was wandering about through life with the idea that I was a pretty good person. All of my choices made sense to me; the way I spoke to people was, in my mind, clear and friendly; and everyone benefited from my presence at all times. And, just like the rest of you, I had no idea of how terrible I was. Am. I mean, I could see the faults in others, I could see how to adjust their behaviors in order for them to become more successful, but I was not able to hold the mirror up to myself. And then my wife gave birth to two mirrors.
At this point I don’t understand how I have any friends at all. I can barely put up with my nonsense for twenty minutes! And I know it is my nonsense because when I see it in my kids, I can finally start to see it in myself. It started with phrases. Do I really say that all the time? I guess I do. Huh. And now the kids are saying it. But from phrases it has moved on to behavioral patterns that I cannot seem to correct. And I have finally realized why. The children are watching their parents. They are learning how to act and live from what they see at home. And suddenly I am not quite the bundle of sunshine that I thought I was.
Why does my daughter say everything in a tone that seems to say “Dad, you are an idiot for not knowing this.”? It’s pretty rude, actually. Oh wait, I have been criticized for being condescending before. I didn’t believe my critics of course, but now upon further introspection, it seems that my well-intentioned and good-humored dispensation of knowledge can be somewhat obnoxious. How can I get my daughter to stop doing it, when I can’t get myself to stop doing it?
Why do my children react to everything little thing as though it is a crisis? Why do they create unnecessary drama over insignificant little…what do you MEAN you spilled milk on the COUCH! ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! GET A PAPER TOWEL! WHY ARE YOU JUST STANDING THERE?! CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT! THERE IS MILK ON THE COUCH! *pant* *pant* *pant* Phew… Okay, now where were we? Oh yeah, why are my kids always freaking out about nothing? It is super stressful and annoying.
I still think I’m a decent person in general. At least I’m not a bad person. But the gild is off the lily. My rose-colored selfie filter has been deactivated. I’m not perfect. I’m not even close. And while I technically knew that before I had kids, there is nothing like a couple of living reflections of your faults to bring reality crashing home. So basically, in other words, they are the best thing to ever happen to me. Onward and upward!