Now that my three girls have all flown the nest and Bunny just gave birth to her own little bundle, I think quite often about their growing up days. Time has a way of passing by so quickly and the best laid plans fall by the wayside. We also get caught up in the throes of daily life, building a career, and yearning for any modicum of personal time we can steal either alone, or with our partner. So I set out here to make a list of the things I had either planned to do with the kids that I never got to, or things I just plain regret now that the trials of parenthood have softened to sentimental memories:
Become a family who skis together - we actually did go on a winter ski trip to the Poconos one year, but there was no snow and the wind chill was so low we couldn’t do much outside. The girls were too short for horseback riding then, so we ended up playing ice hockey on the deck of our rental. Never got around to planning another trip.
While I did attend many dance, concert, awards, academic, gymnastic and sporting events – I never got to see Boo Bear do the high jump in person. I know she was pretty good too.
Getting Sweetpea a trampoline. I was always worried about kids jumping when I was at work or someone getting hurt. She had to climb trees instead. Besides, once I said “no” I HAD to stick to it. I should have a webcam set up to watch them when they were young teens, even though I expected they were old enough to take care of each other, but it turns out Sweetpea was pretty mean to Boo Bear on a fairly regular basis. Be sure – kids don’t tell you stuff like this until they think the statute of limitations on getting in trouble has kicked in or they are finally secure in being able to “squeal”. It was probably a good thing we didn’t have a trampoline….. When she was really little, Sweetpea invited Boo Bear to play “ship”. She then proceeded to throw her little sister overboard from the top bunk into the blue rug “water” below. I can only imagine what transpired when they were older.
It would have been nice to have another child while they were still young to escape all the pitfalls that come with “Middle Child” syndrome. I really did always want to have 2 or 4, but #3 came along so quickly behind 1 and 2, we couldn’t catch our breath and DH got too spooked.
So, the more I’ve thought about my regrets, neglects and failures, I realize there are many more things that I am greatly thankful of having done as a parent as well.
I’m glad I took that promotion and convinced our family to relocate. Although Bunny’s 10th grade life seemed ruined at the time, we did move to a more rural area (“This is a place for cows and chickens – not people!”). The girls were all the better for having learned about new places and faces and adapting to new situations. They are now comfortable in the city, the country, in-between and living on their own even in a foreign country.
I’m glad I was a Girl Scout cookie mom. Everyone should have their dining room stacked floor to ceiling with girl scout cookies and be their own best customer (should have rented some outside storage to keep me from foraging). Nothing beats weekends pulling a wagon around frozen sidewalks or shivering outside of department stores. Why do they plan the Northeastern sales in JANUARY!!! I learned a great sales pitch from the girls that will stay with me forever - “The Lemon ones go great with tea!” Still partial to the Red box though.
I’m glad we had pets – over the years at various times we’ve had a total of 3 dogs, 5 cats, countless fish, a guinea pig named Honeysuckle, along with a number of butterflies, caterpillars and lightening bugs! Advice on this one – make sure to rotate “pet cleanup” duty amongst the kids, to keep the menagerie at a minimum.
I’m glad we took swimming lessons and had our own pool. The many hours of “Mom – Watch This!” – “No Wait, that wasn’t good – watch now…” that seemed so annoying are very precious to me now. Having a pool full of Little Mermaids was fun too. Can’t believe I always yearned for a moment to just float on a raft in the quiet still water (ok – I still yearn for that).
Became one of “those” mothers I’d seen bringing her kid to the dance recital with a full garment rack full of costumes in tow. I’ve certainly learned from parenthood that you will often eat your words. I’m glad my DH did not take it literally when I said ”Kill me if you ever see me doing that!”. While I tried not to be one of “those” mother, nothing has warmed me as much as watching the lights go down, the music come up and watching my girls year after year enjoying and mastering dance.
So my list turned into 5 regrets and quickly turned to my gratitudes. I’ll stop there at 5.
In the old days B.C. (before children), I once said “If all my children have to be the same gender, I hope I have girls” If I had it to do over again, I would JUST SAY YES! We’d love to hear some of your hopes, plans, and dreams – just remember that now is the time to make them happen. Take a moment to savor the moments whenever you can!