Do your children really know who you are?
I recently read an article that said: " Embarrass your kids, it is good for them." It caused me to think of my life with my Mom and then my life with my own children. I have never deliberately tried to embarrass myself, my children or anyone else, the object of this conversation is not about doing or being absurd but rather it is about allowing others to really see you at your truest self.
When we were young, I was one of four girls; my mother would take us shopping to NYC. She loved walking the streets of New York and partook in the tastes of the city, like eating the chestnuts from the street vendors. She liked to shop there, too; and when she had a product thatdidn'twork for her, she would return it to the store and expect her money back without question. We girls were always embarrassed by this process and tried to move away from her so as not to be identified with her. She was a woman who believed in herself and she demanded respect from others. I know people who would never return a thing because those experiences made them feel uncomfortable. Today, I, too, have no problem with returning something or for speaking up for myself if I believe I am right.
I must admit, I have never really let my hair down in front of my children because I wanted to maintain a persona of seriousness, respect or maybe even self-protection or just setting the best example. I am not really sure what my motive was, but I do know that I have always tried to keep a distance from revealing my true personality.
As I am growing older and now have grandchildren, I am more open and flexible. I share myself with my grandchildren in a way I never did with my children. I have a need to be more playful. Laughter comes easier with my grandchildren and a greater sense of freedom prevails. Walking one day to the village market with one of my granddaughters, I started to skip down the hill and I asked her to join me. I saw that she was embarrassed but itdidn'tstop me from enjoying that moment as I merrily kept skipping. I sometimes see her watching me and observing my actions. I think to myself this is good she is seeing the lighter side of me, the side that I never shared with my own children. I swing on the park swing with her and I am more playful and silly than I ever was with my own children.
Possibly being a single parent has taken a toll on my psyche and me. Life was very serious to me being solely responsible for four little ones and making sure they had the best that I could provide weighed heavily on me. So maybe my change in demeanor and attitude today has a great deal to do with my feeling emancipated from the burden of parenting as I am more willing to express my feeling openly.
Growing up, I did not feel comfortable letting others know who I truly was and instead I showed the world whom I needed to be to survive and feel safe at the same time. There is a great lesson to learn from all of this. I cannot say what is right or wrong but I can encourage you to take a look at your life and how you have been allowing others to know you.
We each get to decide the way we want to be remembered. One thing I know for sure is that when you let the world know who you really are, you are living more in your truth and that is good. I am learning not to take things too seriously and as I relax more with myself, I am able to relax more with others. All of a sudden, I feel it is important for others to know the real me, my personality, my sensitivities and of course my idiosyncrasies and that too is good.
Joan Marie Ambrose