Hello Beautiful – Mercy Me
I hear parents all the time talk about what they’d do differently now. Wisdom and regret mix like oil and water. But pure joy at watching these kids become the adults I envisioned is a balm that soothes this momma’s soul.
So the next list. It’s shorter. The listing doesn’t come all at once anymore. The numbers have begun to require more contemplation. And that’s okay. I don’t want these thoughts to become cliche. They’re not trite. I’m not nearly philosophical enough for all that. Just a mom. Dyed blonde to cover the grey. Soft where there were once defined angles. So, here we go.
- Don’t let anger rob you of wisdom.
- Think before you speak may be the best advice I can give you.
- Be you. You’re not us. At some point, you have to decide not to be a product of your upbringing or that becomes just an excuse.
- Hurtful, angry words are hard to forget. Don’t let those define you.
- When you’re older, you’ll look back and realize how young you were.
- When you have kids, every year you’ll see a little more of what your Momma sees.
- Remember the time that coworker of yours called me your Moms? Does Moms have an apostrophe? Anyway, that’s one of my favorite memories.
- I usually think of you within five minutes of waking up. Crazy, huh? It’s a mom thing.
- Sometimes I still picture you sitting in the car, your little feet hanging over the edge of the seat. You were that small once upon a time.
- Did you know meeting you was the scariest and the most thrilling day?
- I’m so proud when I watch you overcome an inner battle.
- In a very public place, someone shared a life experience with me that has had traumatic repercussions in their life. This person then asked what we’d done to cause the trauma in your life. That question felt like a punch to the gut. Glancing around, noticing the surprised faces on those closest in range of overhearing, I struggled to reply. I fought back tears. I stumbled over words, regrets, and broken memories. Sometimes, people will dare to touch your most tender fear. How you handle those moments will change with maturity. But, what’s more important than your response in the moment, is that you continue to lay down your broken things at the foot of the cross. You can’t undo the done. You can pray for healing. You can pray for compassion. You can pray for forgiveness. Don’t let mistakes or regret shape your responses or your prayers. Let faith. Let hope. Let love. Let trust. Let wisdom.
These twelve. A longish short list. We’re ever learning. I don’t believe our mistakes make us who we are. I don’t believe regret has value. I believe in telling you the truth as much as I can define what truth is in this life I’ve already lived. I love you heart and soul.
As a kid, I had this notion that for me, parenting would one day be an easy thing. I pictured hot breakfasts every morning, clean laundry, and adoring cherubs who never had to help wash the dishes. Not the world I grew up in with its havoc and mayhem. I didn’t understand my parents struggle to raise four kids. With so many to practice on, why weren’t my parents pros? Then I grew up, married, and had kids of my own.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. With each child, I found the challenge greater, not easier. With time, I did begin to gain some knowledge and wisdom, but I’m still adding to those particular banks. I wish I could have known the things I know now. I wish I’d written lists of lessons learned rather than lists of chores and goals during those learning years. I can’t say the list I’ve added to this post is complete or set in stone or even that it’s always rock solid. It is instead, a list of principles, my determination to raise kids who will hopefully be better than me, do better than me, and one day, raise my grandkids to do the same. So, here we are, the next list, in no particular order, of things I want my kids to know that I said.
- Being a parent is the hardest job in the world.
- Take off your mask. Don’t be afraid to be real.
- Share your life. You have so much to give.
- Wake up every day with a renewed determination to do better than the day before.
- You don’t know what tomorrow holds, but yes, it could hold all the answers. You’ll want to wake up and find out.
- Spend plenty of time having fun. Work will always be there.
- Do the unexpected thing.
- Forgive. Grudges are for the weak.
- Say you’re sorry first.
- Compliment your spouse everyday. They need your affirmation.
- Dreams are worth having. Dream big.
- Take a vacation or a day off often. You need restoration.
- Love your loved ones with all your heart. Why hold back?
- Be faithful. Be trustworthy. Have integrity. Earn respect.
- Be honorable.
- Don’t manipulate. You’re better than that.
- Don’t be afraid of hard things. Good things come from hard things.
- Don’t be afraid to look at sufferIng and let yourself feel with raw emotion.
- Have deep conversations. Fluff talk dissipates.
- Finish strong.
I wish I could say I have this parenting thing all figured out. Perfection. But I don’t. That doesn’t stop me from trying.
There are more lists to come, but they’ll have to wait for now.
Until next time.
In a Facebook post I read this morning, a mom listed the things she wanted her daughters to know, and this got me thinking. There are things I want my kids to know too. There are things I want them to know that I said, but the thing is, I didn’t say them all. At least not until now. So this is that post. It may be one of many. There are a lot of things I’d like to say even though the sons are all grown, and married, or in one case, practically married. And believe me, it’s not that I haven’t said a lot of stuff, because I have, and I’ve said some things I regret saying. But there are things I want to say for possibly the first time, or a little better, or louder, or more often, like, I love you. I’m proud of you. You stole a piece of my heart the day you were born. You are the best memory I will ever have.
There’s so much more that there’s got to be a list, but first some confessions to my sons. Not that there won’t be more, but here are a few to start this off.
- You know that time you spilled your milk across the table and it ran down into the rope weave of the chair seat, down the table legs, and onto the floor, and took so long to clean up, and I got mad at you and yelled? I’m so sorry.
- I’m still working on that patience thing.
- The way your smile reaches your eyes makes my heart ache.
- I still love the way you curl your hair around your finger when you’re tired.
- The way you love your wife fills me with incomprehensible joy.
- Do you remember all those times I dropped you off at daycare? I hated every single one of those days. I wanted to be one of those moms who’s good at staying home. I wasn’t so much.
- I wish we had gone camping instead of making you play baseball.
- We should have put you in theater for kids. You are so talented.
- You are truly funny, and I wish you smiled more.
- I wish I’d said those bedtime prayers with you every single night.
- I wish I’d spent more time reading with you and less time watching television.
- I wish I’d spent less time worrying about what others thought of my momming skills and spent more time impressing you.
- Remember when you wanted to plant your own plants in the garden? I should have let you.
- I’m sorry we didn’t keep that dog you loved.
- You were a great kid, but you’re an even better man. I’m still so proud to be your mom.
- Momming is still hard. I wish there were do-overs.
- The way you challenge yourself scares me to death and makes me silly proud of you all at the same time.
- Your tenacity, courage, and strength are character traits I love most about you.
- The way you look at me with grown man wisdom takes my breath away.
- I love that you love God more than I taught you to. That’s huge to me now.
I’m sorry these thoughts aren’t in any kind of order. They’re kind of like the way I raised three grown boys. Seat of my pants, random luck of the draw, taking lots of chances, and praying they’d forgive me for the mess. So, that’s all for now, because this listing business is turning out to be hard stuff.
With every bit of my heart,
More listing next time…