I sometimes watch my adult children and wonder what genetic mix has created them with their energies, self-confidence, optimism, forgiveness and golden humor. Where did they get the wisdom to see what is truly important. I see these traits in the man I married, an only child, doted on and given opportunities galore to succeed or fail. The only child of an aging couple in their second marriages who saw this child as their second and last chance to get it right. And thus he sees himself as an important cog in the wheel of life.
I thought I had the above traits, but age has given me the wisdom to see I am a punctual, list adhering soul given to joy only when all has been completed and put away and failure is no longer an option. Only when the small rest time that is given as reward for work well done, do I allow myself to be open and less attentive. I do not like these traits in myself and this past decade as my adult children have held up this mirror, I have tried to change and mellow out just a bit. It is hard work to change oneself and also is an embarrassment to do this. It is hard to stop and remember to look at the view on the way up instead of waiting until you are at the very top to relish the hard work and share the joy of the view with others.
I was the oldest of five with many chores and responsibilities. My mother was critical of much that I did and only gave praise for good grades as she knew this was the gateway for her children to a better life. All else was expected and she did not forgive you if you became distracted by daydreaming. Life was not a bowl of cherries but a tall cherry tree which must be climbed for any reward. She focused most of her attention on the youngest as that was all that her remaining energies allowed and she expected me at an early age to be more of an adult. I write this not to place blame but to see more clearly why I am the way that I am, why I am always the adult in my family, why I need down time, why going soft and making mistakes is scary for me and why I am critical of those who put fun before deadlines.
But I will keep trying and little by little I will not be so focused on clearing the path, but picking the flowers.