Regrets

Perhaps it's a natural reaction to the fact that after twenty-seven years with at least one child at home, DH and I are about to return to a couple-state. Or perhaps it's something to do with time marching on of which there are so many reminders this month with both my eldest and my youngest sons having birthdays, as well as The Most Adorable Granddaughter#3, and not to forget, yours truly. Maybe it even has something to do with that recent wedding anniversary and the looking back over our courtship and early marriage and seeing how far we've come. Then again, perhaps it's just that this time of year provides ample opportunity for reflection.

I don't know. What I do know is that lately I've been thinking back over my life as a mother and homemaker and wishing that I'd done more.

More time ... more energy expended ... more creativity ... more of me.

It seems that the memories of bathing little bodies, and reading bedtime stories, and praying with them at night, are fading fast. So too, the attempts to prepare wholesome food (even when they complained), the endless hours watching sport, the careful monitoring of their friendships, making them do chores when it would have been easier to do them myself, the teaching and training, and of course the family times. The things I did wrong or didn't do when I should have seem to loom over me larger than life. I find myself wondering if I ever did anything right.

Certainly my reflections have not been softened by something my youngest son told me not so long ago. His earliest memory apparently is of asking me for a drink and being told "in a minute" and, if you believe him, he's still waiting! It beats my first memory (which is of having a lumbar puncture done) but it's not exactly the enduring image I hoped to burn into my children's memories when I undertook this mothering role. (He also remembers having a "ride" on our fence when an earthquake struck. What does that tell you about my performance as a mother?)

I was going to do such a perfect job. None of the mistakes my parents made or that I saw others making. I loved my kids so much and they were never going to be in any doubt of it. I was going to be always understanding, always sensitive, always available, always loving. They would never wish they'd been brought up in another home or adopted out at birth. I was going to do it right.

Yet it seems I didn't even have time to get my child a drink of water!

Comments

Liliana said…
lol. You've gotta take this one on the road, Jules. The lumbar puncture had us laughing out loud. You are one of the most wonderful mamas I know and you have created quite a legacy.
Fox said…
If you notice you said it was your youngest son who wanted a drink and you said, "in a minute". Sounds like every other mother in this world that has more than one child. As super human as mothers seem to be, they are not God. They can only be in one place at one time, doing a million things that need to be done. No matter how hard you tried, while meeting the needs of one child, the other child is going to have to wait... that is life. Teaching them patience, that you are there for them and will help "in a minute", even if your hands are full at the moment, is not a bad thing at all. After all, if you taught him that a woman would drop everything just to meet his every need, despite the fact that she was already doing something else important, then he would probably make for a very demanding and inconsiderate husband. :)

I think you are being much too hard on yourself. Of course everyone looks back and wishes they could do things better in every area of our life. If we had today's wisdom in yesterday's time, we'd make so many less mistakes wouldn't we! But God doesn't give us that ability. He gives us today... the present. He doesn't give us the past to change, nor the future to plan, but He gives us grace for today. He gives us just what we need, at the time we need it.

I look at your family and I see happy kids that have grown up and started happy families of their own. I see them coming back into your home and making cookies and enjoying Christmas traditions. I see them appreciating the value of family and what it means. I see them holding on to those family ties that bind them. I see them leaving their most priceless possessions, their children, into your more than capable hands. They know Nana is going to take great care of those kids. If they thought you did such a bad job, they would never leave their children in your care. So, don't be so hard on yourself. Understand that despite the fact that we all think you're something of a superhero, you are just a human being, who did the best she could raising a large family, and in my opinion, has done an outstanding job doing so.

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