By Sandy Welch Thompson
If you are a mom, hear me now and listen well. I went home last night and got an extreme lesson in parenting, and well…character. I’ll forget it I am sure the next day I am late, upset, moody or whatever the excuse is that we give ourselves for being nasty from time to time, but today…WOW.
Nunu was talking to Nub last night. They got on the subject of love. Emily asked her, “So Nunu, what is love?” – Nunu thinks for a minute and says, “Love is when we pull up to the school in the morning and I get out of the back of the car, I come to momma’s door and she opens it – then I say I’m “stirsty” so she gives me a drink (p.s…sometimes I admit, it is MONSTER). Then she kisses me and says that she’s really, really sorry she yelled at us this morning.”
It was kind of funny to hear, especially if you know me. Some days that is just who I am. But, I’m gonna tell ya right now. That’s not love. That’s awful!
I’ve said confession is good for the soul. Well, maybe the truth from a 6-year-old is better. I can’t even remotely think about what I’ve done without just breaking down. It’s humbling. It’s embarrassing and I’m guilt-ridden. But I’m sharing (or better, shaming) with my friends so that maybe you might stop in your tracks like this made me stop.
You might have giggled a little bit, just like I did at first. But then it wasn’t funny to me at all. It’s true that many days we are rushing and pushing to get somewhere and at all costs.
By gosh we think we have to leave the house by a specific time or the world stops on its axis. Not so. My world stopped on its axis when I heard this. I wanted to just quit my job, stay home and just love on my babies every minute of every day to say I’m sorry.
Truth is, that wouldn’t do justice to my kiddos at all. I’m not smart enough to be a stay-at-home mom or a home-school teacher. But I will forever truly know this moment has impacted my life. Not the only one that has, but it’s in the top tier for sure. I do keep in mind that she is 6 and this was probably what happened one morning out of a thousand, and most likely occurred the morning before the conversation. But, truth of the matter is, it still happened. So like always, here are a couple tips from your ol’ buddy Sandy.
I’ve said to a lot of new moms to remember just two things and you have this parenting thing whooped!
No.1 – Tell yourself when they are newborns, when they are sick or whenever they just don’t want to go to sleep…whatever sleep you get is enough. And it will be. All parents are tired. It’s the B side of raising kids. The A side obviously being the most rewarding experience you will ever know. But allow me to give you a cautionary note:
Try not to take that gift for granted like I do all too often. One day you wake up and they are ready to move out on their own. What you’ve taught them is what they take with them.
Appreciate that you were blessed enough to bring another life in this world. You have been trusted with the greatest gift. Kids embody the very essence of love. They are amazing and loving and annoying and irreplaceable all at the same time. I can’t imagine my life without them.
Obviously at 45, I still have to learn how to express how I feel in the proper way. Did I have a mom moment? Yes! Is it something that will happen again? Absolutely! I have no doubt. But for today and hopefully for a bit of time past today, I will remember just what I tainted. Love isn’t saying I’m sorry. Love is knowing and feeling enough inside that you don’t do something crappy to start with, at least the majority of the time.
I’ve said before that my dad always told us that we went at things like we were killin’ snakes. No rhyme or reason, just full-blown, non-directional energy at whatever needs done. Goes back to that, “think before you act” phrase.
This is how many of my mornings are. I don’t control them, I fall victim to them. Control is much more impressive when it’s born out of being thankful for the blessings you have.
This brings me to No.2 on my advice list. Think back on your own life. What was your first memory? Second? Even 10th? I’ll bet most of them are centered around your family. Good or bad, that’s generally what I would think.
Well, no matter if they were positive or negative, you have those memories forever, so I say this: You never know when your kids’ first memories will happen, so make as many of them as good as you can and your bases just may be covered.
I don’t know how long God is keeping me on this earth, but I danged sure don’t want my daughter’s first memory to be that I kissed her and apologized after I yelled at her. You can bet that my mission is to try to minimize that mess right now. She is 6! She is only 6!
Oh my gosh, her definition of love is so conflicted right now. I created that and I am ashamed. It won’t be my legacy and I hope it’s not yours either. If you are in the same boat I am, throw those old oars away and paddle with your hands…a little more work on our part will ensure that good memories trump the ugly ones. It may also make us a bit more tired so we don’t have the crazy energy that makes a baby girl think love is an afterthought.
I certainly wasn’t raised that way. My kids won’t be either.