I will never claim to be the perfect parent. In fact, I will never even be close. I have failed at so many things, the monster of mommy guilt has a way of consistently rearing her ugly head and pointing her crooked finger at me, even to this day. I know her well now and no longer cringe when she creeps into my thoughts. Okay, sometimes she still scares me. But I now have weapons; my kids.
Despite the trials and tribulations of adolescence, and still on-going puberty, they remain incredibly wonderful people. And I am profoundly amazed that I didn’t break them.
With each child, I believe I became a better parent, or rather I learned from my mistakes, albeit slowly. But I really tried. For the first time in my life that I could remember, I had purpose; I was making people.
My kids have watched every single move I have made good or bad, and listened to every word I have said; every word. I have learned children become amateur mimics around the age of 2, and professionals by the age of 3 to 4. By age 5, they own you. Watch your step and your mouth because there will always be a moment that they will expose you. Children have the innate ability, sweet faces or not, to show what they’ve learned from you in the most embarrassing ways possible.
They will do what you do, unless of course you are eating a vegetable. And they will most assuredly say what you say. I know this because each one of mine have repeated a not-so-great word or two that I’ve inadvertently dropped and they have always managed to repeat these words without fail in front of witnesses. Lots of witnesses.
One of my sons at the age of three asked our priest at the end of church service one day “are you God”? Our priest explained he was not. The surrounding church goers, all got a giggle out. That was until my son said does he know “god- damn is a bad word mommy?”. I still remember the searing hot flash(s) I felt at the age of 26, while we walked as quickly to the car as possible. I also watched for lightning bolts.
On the positive side every one of our children managed to adopt the good parts of us. And discarded the not so great. And I learned as we all do, to do better.
To date my kids are all strong, intelligent, and empathetic people. Though I still have time to mess up; I am careful and fortunately couldn’t be more proud of them or myself. I have learned from them also. Many wonderful and beautiful lessons. Leave it to a child to teach a grown adult patience, but they do.
To be a parent is truly one of the most rewarding things I can imagine doing as a person.
I just need to remember, they are always watching. Always.
Enjoy your day.