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.