Do what matters the most
I’m not a perfect parent. Nor have I claimed to be a perfect parent. Ditto for my husband. In fact, I don’t know any parents to whom I would apply a label of perfection, nor do we expect it of them. Isn’t parenting more of a process in which we grow and learn and just keep on keeping on while doing the best we can do?
Our two youngest kids have bedtime issues. They like to sit and cuddle with Mom and Dad (more specifically, Dad) when they should be in their beds in their rooms. By themselves. Falling asleep.
Our oldest is what you might refer to as high maintenance. He enjoys shopping, eating out and going to the chiropractor. He likes to “have things.” A massage and a pedicure (neither of which he has ever experienced) were both included on his Christmas wish list.
Are we terrible parents for sometimes indulging our kids in this way? They don’t constantly get their way or whatever item they have requested. But if our soon-to-be-three-year-old wants me to pick him up so he doesn’t have to walk up the stairs, is that really so terrible? If our five-year-old wants to snuggle under a blanket with his Dad instead of lying in his bed alone, is that horrible? Or is it positive that he recognizes where and with whom he feels safe and secure? If one of us is out shopping with our thirteen-year-old and we stop somewhere for lunch instead of coming home to eat, are we being over-indulgent?
Or are these “the moments” that get taken for granted far too often that we should all stop to recognize and appreciate?
Why do I ask?
Recently, a family from our local area lost their son. He was 20 years old. We know two men in their 40s who have been diagnosed with MS, causing their future physical abilities into question.
So here’s the way I see it. If my children want to be carried or cuddled, or to be treated to a restaurant lunch, or to run in the yard for an extra ten minutes – we should be more open to letting these things happen. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating constant over-indulgence. But I consider the future – and really, when our children have grown and my husband and I have aged together – or God forbid, if an illness befalls any one of us – will it really matter that we cuddled them at night, or had a great conversation at that unexpected lunch, or that a child was carried up the stairs when he was quite capable of navigating the stairs all by himself?
Certainly, those things will matter. Because we will be grateful for having done it. Instead of regretting not having done it and wishing for the time back to do it differently.
Hug your kids. Spend special time talking with and just being with them. While they are still with you and you still have the ability.
As an imperfect parent, I think that is what matters the most.