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The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch - Sleepy Eye, MN
  • Looking ahead instead of behind

  • My daughter, Maddie said to me one night on my way to bed, “Hey Mom, want to watch a movie with me?”
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  • My daughter, Maddie said to me one night on my way to bed, “Hey Mom, want to watch a movie with me?”
     
    I almost said no, that I was too tired. Instead I followed her to the man cave and we watched the end of the TV movie together. As we watched the movie I snuggled her close to me. When the movie finished I told her that I loved her and she smiled and gave me a hug and a kiss before we both went off to get some rest.
     
    The next morning I was battering myself with thoughts. Thoughts of time and parenting and the questions… “Have I said enough?” “Have I listened well?” “Do I speak words of encouragement?”
     
    I don’t want to let moments like these slip away. I want to know my children well….to enjoy them deeply….that when they are big and grown I can watch them with satisfaction as they go off on their own and know that I have given my all.
     
    I can be quick to get irritated with Maddie. When she was an infant and toddler those years were so very hard. It seemed like she would never grow up. I’ve called her spunky and sassy and while sometimes it is true, she is so much more. I’ve never heard anyone outside the family have a complaint about her. Yet in those difficult years I found myself wishing her to be older. When she tests my boundaries a little too much or calls for me for what seems like the zillionth time in one day, it is easy to wish those moments away.
     
    The following day I looked into her eyes and thanked her…for being who she is, for forgiving me of my mistakes, for being her sweet self. I hugged her and told her she is a blessing and I meant it with every fiber of my being. I need more of that. Speaking life, building her up. She may be 10, but in the blink of an eye she will be 18 (God willing) and packing for college while I fall apart on the inside.
     
    It isn’t easy. There is nothing more important, valuable or worth my time than tuning into my children. I don’t want to regret a thing.
     
    I think there is hardly a parent out there who does not have some regrets and painful memories of their failures as a mother or a father. Children are complex and it is no more possible to be perfect parents as it is to be perfect human beings. The pressures of living are enormous; we get tired and irritated, we don’t always handle our children as we wish we had. Sometimes our emotions prevent us from saying the right things and being the role models we should be. It is so easy to look back on a particular situation and wish we had handled it differently. But then, no one does the job perfectly.
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    The past is the past. As parents we have to let it go, ask God to wrap his arms around our children and draw them close. We did the best job we knew how to do as a parent.
     
    The outcome belongs to Him.

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