Desperately in Need of a Second Chance: A Mother's Journey

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As I sit here designing my son’s graduation announcement, my heart is heavy with regret.  As a parent we never realise how quickly these moments will fly past & everything will be just a memory.  I am so very proud of him for graduating & proud of his decision to serve in our military, but my life is about to change in ways I am not prepared for.  These last eighteen years, I have been his mom.  It was my title.  My job.  My responsibility.  My source of joy & sometimes sorrow. There are so many things I wish I could have done differently.  

If I could offer advice to new parents it would be this: Slow down.  Take more pictures.  Read more books.  Make time to take road trips even if it’s just to a local ice cream shop.  Put your phone down & unplug from everything but your child.  Everything else can wait.  Moments like these cannot.

Add Your Child to Your to-do List 

Make sure you spend quality time with your children every day. There is nothing more important than spending time with them.  You only have one chance at being a great parent.  Make it count.

Put other things on hold.  Dishes & laundry can wait.  Trust me.  They will still be there when you get back.  If your child wants your attention, give it to them.  One day they will not seek you out as a source guidance, entertainment, or enjoyment.

Take risks!  My son is in jiu jitsu.  Mom’s train free at his studio.  I had never thought about even trying to train.  I’m just a little too old & way too out of shape for such things.  But when I asked him how he wanted to spend the summer & his reply was for me to train with him, I did.  It was hard.  My body was covered in bruises & every part of me ached every day.  But to see him smile & hear him say he was proud of me was worth every ounce of pain.  

Try not to be so annoyed.  Children do little things every day that irritate us to our core.  We spend so much time telling them to pick up this, do that, don’t do that.  One day, you will miss how they always took so long to get ready in the mornings.  Or maybe you’ll miss finding his socks everywhere around the house.  Those little things will be what you miss most.  

Start a journal and write down things about your child.  They change so fast.  One day that goofy face they make every time they try to tie their shoe will disappear.  The endless questions will end & you will forget what a curious child you have.  My son told me crazy stories all the time. I didn’t write them down. I wish I would have written down every little detail. Write down everything.  Share it with your child when they are old enough to see how much every little thing meant to you.

Although I was blessed to inherit step daughters, my time with them as children was short. They are grown & have given me the joy of being a grandparent. My son is my only biological child & the baby of our family so for me, there are no second chances.  I took too many things for granted that now haunt me.  I wish I would have done all the things I listed & more.  I know I wasn’t the best mom but thankfully, he thinks I was.

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