Shortly after my first child was born, an online friend of mine lost her baby. She was 7 months old. There are no words to describe a loss like that. No words of comfort. No words of peace. There is just a void that is felt in your world – a gut wrenching emptiness that grasps the very core of your being and doesn’t ever let go. And those were just my feelings – for the loss of a child of a woman I barely knew. My heart ached for her. I cried for her. I weeped for her sweet baby. And then I weeped for my sweet baby as thoughts of “what ifs” played through my head over and over again in the days that followed.
As she spoke of her child and the loss of the light in her world, she said something that reached the very center of my being and stopped me dead in my tracks.
“I am at peace knowing that I have no regrets about the time I spent with my child.”
Her words slayed me.
I thought deeply about what she had said, and began to question myself. If I lost my children today, would I be able to say the same thing? Would I have regrets about my time spent with them? Could I honestly say I had been engaged, interactive and fully committed 100 percent of each and every day? Is that even possible?
There is no denying that I love my children. I really don’t even think there are words to describe the love a mother has for her babies. But they need me from the very moment their eyes open in the morning until the very moment they close at night. They use me – every ounce of the very best of me – every single day – syphoning my love and attention and energy until I don’t think there is anything left of me to give -and then they ask for just a little bit more.
Some days are spent in their entirety just “making it” from point A to point B.
“If I can just make it to nap time…”
“If I can just make it to daddy-o’clock…”
“If I can just make it to bedtime…”
There are days I spend the entire day just barely scraping by – arms stretched out like a Gumby doll, grasping for those little moments of solitude. And then, when they’re both sound asleep on my lap, arms draped over one another, little sighs floating into the air from their tiny perfect little pouts, I think, “My goodness, how lucky am I? How could I ever have a moment of frustration when everything good in the world is laying right here in my lap?”
Motherhood is like this constant battle between feeling pretty OK about yourself and your abilities as a parent to feeling really, really crappy. In those dark and low moments, I often think about my friend and her sweet baby and those words – those four words that just burn a hole through my heart and resonate in my soul: “I have no regrets.”
I think we are a generation of kick-ass parents who are so wrapped up in being kick-ass parents; 100 percent on point with all things politically correct, socially beautiful, fashion forward and organic in every aspect of life. I know I am. And it’s fun, and challenging and exhausting. I love it so very much.
…but I love my kids more.
I’m not saying I am going to stop dressing my daughter in outfits that would put Carrie Bradshaw to shame. I’m not going to stop posting hundreds of pictures on my social media sites weekly, and I am certainly not going to stop failing miserably at my Pinterest-inspired-creations gone wrong. All of that is part of who I am. It’s what I love to do.
What I am going to do is:
Listen to my children more when they speak to me – really, truly listen.
I’m going to build puzzles and read books with them more instead of turning Mickey’s Clubhouse on and zoning out for 30 minutes.
I’m going to laugh with them more.
Be silly with them more.
Roll around on the floor with them more.
I am going to take them outside, even when there are puddles from the previous day’s storm.
I am going to dig in the dirt with them and search for dinosaur eggs.
I am going to tell them “NO” less and “YES” more, because I know deep down that most of the “NOs” are really because I don’t feel like doing something.
And most importantly, I am going to put my phone away whenever I am with them.
I am going to love my children, and I am going to show them that love in everything that I do. When it comes to the most important people in my life, I am going to strive to have NO REGRETS… no “what ifs”… and at the end of the day, be at peace with how I spent my time with them here on earth.
Photo credit: Marley Layne’s Closet