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April 14, 2006 / allyo

Nature/nurture

Our regular daycare provider is on vacation this week and next, so Jamie’s care has been farmed out here and there and everywhere. A day at my aunt’s house, two days with D, two with A. All week I’ve heard about what a great kid he is. That MD and I should share the recipe for the perfect child, because we managed to make one. That we should really have another, for the same reason. I was thinking about this while on my way to pick him up after work today, and about how the rotating care hasn’t phased him one bit. Even at my aunt’s, where he’s never been left before, he had a ball. I’m sure it helped that my cousin’s daughter, who is a year older than him, was there. But still. He’s eaten well, napped well, and from what I hear, has been a pleasure to have around.

So I was driving and thinking and my thoughts were wandering. And something struck me. I’ve been attributing his general good nature to MD, which, is definitely understandable. But I realized that when talking about Jamie, I tend to take myself out of the equation. I don’t give myself credit for his genetics or his upbringing. And in fact, I’ve been told, although not for some time now, that as a child I was pleasant, and flexible, and generally, nice to have around.

And for a second, I was back in my therapist’s chair. Sobbing, while she repeated, gently, “Ally, you are good enough. You’re smart enough, you’re pretty enough, you’re thin enough, you’re good enough.”

On the one hand, if asked, like Felicity Huffman, “Are you a good mom?” I’d answer, without hesitation, “Yes.” I’m pretty patient, and loving, and I love playing with and taking care of and just being with my child. I put a lot of thought and care into this parenting gig, as we all do. Of course, those of you who’ve been reading for awhile know that my bar may be set a little low, but still. I know I’m a good parent, just like I know MD’s a good parent.

But, but, how to explain? After Jamie was born, a friend said to me, “Look at him. You MADE that!” And I agreed, but it really didn’t resonate with me. Yes, my body grew him, carried him, and birthed him. It even fed him. And he is a part of me, I just don’t give myself enough credit for who he is. People compliment him, and I am proud. Proud on his behalf, for the nature he was born with, proud in the ways he resembles his dad. And dammit, I should be proud in the ways he takes after me. I’m good enough, valuable enough, and I helped make an incredible kid.

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