I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have any regrets when I look back on parenting my kids.
I know, it’s laughable. Because I’m human, there’s no possible way on earth I can do that. I’m bound to mess something up, and the chances that it’s something major are probably pretty high. What I mean is, insomuch as its within my control, I don’t want to have regrets. For example, I don’t want to be on my phone or computer so much that I miss the small moments. Or even take a picture of one moment and immediately upload it to Facebook or Instagram and miss the rest of the moment. I don’t want to be so busy trying to keep my floors clean of dog hair that I don’t dance with my kids. And I don’t want to let my temper get the better of me and be rewarded with that look of hurt on my small person’s face.
I know my kids won’t remember most of those things. That I’m not scarring them if I spend some extra time looking at Pinterest one day. But I’m talking about day after day. I’m talking about when I know in my heart that my kids need something different from what I’m giving them. I don’t want to look back and regret that I opted for what was easier or more convenient or more self satisfying than for what they needed.
That’s why I’m trying to change. I’m trying to daily think of what they need, as opposed to what I want. Sure, I want a break during bath time, but what Norah needed tonight was for me to engage her and yell, “crazy lady!” everytime she dunked her head in the water. I really want to have some space during the day, but what Micah needs right now is for me to let him snuggle my hair and nuzzle my cheek as I explain yet again why he cannot control who I talk to and when I talk to them. A sharp word about interrupting and a time out would most definitely be easier (and for some kids, what they need), but for me and Micah, that would be my cop out.
What my kids need right now is my active presence. They need me to invest again and again and again, not to drain me, but to build them. It’s not really about a balance between me time and them time. It’s really about the fact that God gave these little ones to me for a short time. And now is my opportunity to invest. If I choose them often now, sacrificing my want for convenience, and if I sow into them the time and character they need now, their lives will reap the harvest. And I think I will reap the fullness of no regrets as I look back. I will know I did my best, and that God’s grace will cover my mess ups, because I was a good steward of what job He has given me. At least, I hope so. I hope that as I sigh and put away my phone, choosing the daily grind (possibly of my teeth, depending on the attitudes and whine level of the day), that the prize will be always before my eyes. That I can see that I’m choosing to not regret this moment, and to take it and live it with and for my family, making it another jewel in our past.