Parenting Recall

This is not parenting advice.   It’s parenting recall.

After having a short text exchange with my daughter about getting things for her childen, I spent some time last night thinking about my children’s youth.

I worried, when they were growing up, about what I couldn’t ‘get them’.

I worried that they didn’t have the latest, or coolest, or most amazing newest thing.

It bothered me when they were growing up, and we were growing into our careers and financial burdens of life, that I couldn’t always smother them with stuff.  I related well with my child, a young mother of young children, who feels that now.

It made me sad that I didn’t feel then, what I feel now, about parenting.

I did worry too much about what they didn’t have or what we couldn’t afford.

So I thought about, reflected on, what I did do for and give to them.  And I thought, and contemplated, over what I wish could have been different.

And not once in my contemplations, did things come to mind.

I recalled that every single night we had dinner together as a family.  Plain and simple or an all day  cooking production, dinner was together, around a table.  With a prayer of thanks before we ate.

I recalled that every night I prayed a special prayer for each of them, with them, or over them if they already slept.

I read them books.  And sang to them “Amazing Grace” before they slept.

I recalled that I told them I loved them, even as they got older.

As they grew, I knew there were times they wanted ‘more’.   There were times we had more, than at other times.  And they were always grateful.  I recalled teaching them thanks and manners.

We had traditions within our home for the holidays, and with close family and friends.

I recalled incidents with each of my children – moments where they showed me they knew what compassion was, for their friends, for their family, and for strangers.  And my heart swelled.

I thought, as I recalled, that I had wishes as well.   I wish I had done more with them.  Read more books or colored more with them.  Sang more songs with them.  Taken more walks with them.  Gone fishing and camping more.  I wish I had done more to instill or fire up their passions for their own interests.  I wish I had exposed them to more creative endeavors.  I wish I could have instilled more self confidence and empowered their spirit.  There was always room for more of that.

I realized as I was contemplating and recalling, that not once did I wish I could have bought more for my children. What I found myself thinking about and inserting into the ‘wishing game’ of ‘if I could go back’ is that I wasn’t focusing on what I could buy them.   But only on what I could provide them-with my time, my sharing, my thoughts, my educating and guiding them.

I don’t wish I had purchased more for them.

I do wish I could have given them more.

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46 thoughts on “Parenting Recall

  1. markbialczak says:

    You made them rich of mind and spirit, MBC. And that’s exactly how I think of you. ❤


  2. I feel the same but I never realized I had felt that way. What a great realization.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In hindsight being physically present and imprinting a bit of yourself in your children is what matters most. You would be amazed to see how much they are like you when they are adults (which I’m sure you’re seeing now).

    Parenting is a tough game with no set instructions. We basically make up the rules as we go. It’s not always fun but we do the best we can and pray that God does the rest.

    Sounds like you did great. Be blessed and may your children and grandchildren be blessed also. Have a great day ☺


  4. Colleen, you gave them the greatest gift of all that a parent can give their children. You gave them much much more than “things.”


  5. I understand. My adult children still make inappropriate choices. I try to keep my mouth shut unless they ask for advice which they often do. I am always right about the particular consequences of a particular poor choice and they acknowledge that but still choose stupid.


  6. Sounds like you gave a lot Colleen. I’m betting as they raise their own, they strive to be like you. ❤
    Diana xo


  7. It always felt good when you did something fun, like build a fort or make jello and the genuine hug and smile made it so much better than a bought toy that was cast aside for more time hanging out with mom and dad.


  8. cindy knoke says:

    You gave them so much more than material things~


  9. reocochran says:

    You are perfectly right about gifts, Colleen. Your words will hold meaning for new parents and struggling families. They are blessings for those who worry about their ability to buy gifts at this time of year.
    My parents let Santa give us one toy. A lot of people wonder how I live in a one bedroom apt. Some have said didn’t my parents provide more for my future. I am proud to tell them they gave us “enough.”
    Sometimes we got one item we wanted, other times what was found in a similar style. I will say we bought gifts to put in the church for under the “Giving Tree” in many December’s over many years. We donated new coats, toys and books annually. My parents would choose a neighbor or someone we noticed who looked Iike they needed something to give to them anonymously. This way of life helped me to be a confident, single mother who was happy to make ornaments with my kids, to take a giving angel off our church tree and donate food to People In Need (local P.I.N.). My kids sometimes told me other kids got “better” presents from Santa. I told them this: “Santa must know how lucky and loved you are; so you may go visit and play with these toys.”
    We played games almost every weekend, I gave out simple gifts of Time and Love. This is how you believe now but I never felt guilty. Funny, but I also never wanted to put my kids on the tree of “receiving.” I always felt we had “enough.” Such wonderful thoughts and habits you are passing on to your children and grandchildren, Colleen. ♡


    • What a beautiful existence Robin. To truly incorporate giving and caring into young people’s lives. It shows today, in you the adult. The simple gifts, are truly the most remembered and cherished. ❤


      • reocochran says:

        Thanks, Colleen for nice and supportive words. By seeing how people may pass this onto their children instilling the gift of time and “giving.” You also do this in your life’s work. You probably didn’t fret over expensive gifts either; coming from a family who had many children. 🙂


  10. Mustang.Koji says:

    You did well as always… Not just in expressing your thoughts but in parenting. I much rather prefer the old times were the kids were NOT the focus of the family but the parents were…


    • Thank you Koji. These are my reflections, I am curious to see what my children’s reflections are of their childhood. Surely they are not the same as mine. But I hope they have the same kind of feelings….of being glad we were in it together.


  11. duncanr says:

    our time is the best gift we can give to anyone !


  12. russtowne says:

    It appears to me that many of your prayers for them came true, and that you were the kind of mother that millions can only dream of.


  13. I can only say–YES!


  14. niaaeryn says:

    Profound thought and in time with the season. Moments are more meaningful than possessions anyway. Still in a consumer based society it is hard to remind our selves of that sometimes.


  15. ksbeth says:

    this is perfect, colleen –


  16. This is beautiful. It’s a wonderful time for me to read this because my children are young and I often have similar thoughts. If only more time and money…but it’s really the simple things that mean the most to them. Your children are very fortunate to have such a thoughtful parent.


    • You are so kind. It is a difficult beam to balance on. Wanting to do so much and give so much to our kids. Yet, some of those ‘things’ are more important than the others. And we don’t always see it when we’re in the midst of it all.


  17. You have given your kids the best of you Colleen and that knowledge was a gift for life 😀
    Quality time and listening are the best we can give our kids.


  18. johncoyote says:

    I agree my friend.
    “But only on what I could provide them-with my time, my sharing, my thoughts, my educating and guiding them.

    I don’t wish I had purchased more for them.

    I do wish I could have given them more.”
    I believe I’m a better Grandfather than father. I spend all day with the grandchildren. With children. Work was needed and I lost a lot of good days. I would be different if I knew. Time with our children. Best time of our life.


    • It is the best time John. I did spend a good bit of time with my kids. And still wish I could. I never feel like I have enough time iwth them or the grandchildren. I feel like I get better as I get older because so many other things drop by the wayside as I realize how unimportant those ‘things’ are and what is truly important.

      Liked by 1 person

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