A Year of Gifts
It's official. I am now the parent of three "adults." I use the term loosely, because turning eighteen doesn't magically make you a grown-up, but it certainly is a milestone.
Today is our youngest daughter's 18th birthday. It feels surreal. Didn't we just bring her home from the hospital as a newborn? Her special day has me feeling nostalgic, flipping through scrapbooks and old photo albums.
I stumbled across the snapshot on the left from the day we brought our middle daughter home from the hospital. The snow was piled high, and record flooding would follow. It was a spring to remember. The picture on the right is today. Some things change, some things remain the same.
To be honest, I find it all unnerving, this process of the kids growing up and building lives of their own.
I've been a mother for nearly half my life now. For twenty-five years, I've been doing the whole mom gig, and I love it. Now the dynamics are changing. Am I past the hard part? Will the rest be smooth sailing? Time will tell.
I thought it would be fun to try to remember some of the things I often said to my kids as they were growing up. I suspect they got sick of hearing some of these:
I’m sure if you asked my kids, they'd come up with lots more to add to this list. They can never claim I failed to offer sage advice!
Through the years, I like to think I've gained some empathy for other parents. It's the whole "been there, done that" deal. If I see a kid throwing a tantrum out in public, I think back to the epic meltdown one of mine had on the sidewalk at the street fair. As long as a parent is trying to calm them down, I sympathize.
If you've ever spent much time with little ones, whether as a parent, friend, teacher or relative, you've probably lived through your fair share of public outbursts and embarrassments. Kids sometimes don't know what to do with all the emotions they're feeling. It's up to us to try to help them learn.
As I sit here today, thinking back through my first twenty-five years of parenting, I consider whether I have any regrets. Of course, there will always be those parenting "fails" were we wish we'd have handled something differently, but in general, if we've approached this important job with the best of intentions and gave it our best, hopefully our list of true regrets is short.
I've tried, I've sometimes failed, but they've grown into compassionate, kind young adults and my list of regrets is short.
I do regret not writing more things down. You think you'll remember all the cute things they say or do. Trust me— you won't. At least that's been my experience.
There are things I miss from when they were all little. I miss the pile of little tennis shoes by the back door, even though the mess used to drive me crazy. I miss someone bringing me a dandelion to proudly display in a juice glass on the window sill. Like so many things in life, it's the little things we miss when we no longer have them. Perhaps the thing I miss the most is having all five of us under one roof when I go to sleep at night.
While I'm still learning what it means to be a mom, because my role continues to evolve as they grow, I hope they'll always know what a privilege it's been to be "that person" for them. The one that loves them more than life itself.
I hope we've been able to teach them a few valuable life lessons. Things like:
As a parent, we try to do our best every day. Some days will go better than others. You'll forget many of the details on your long journey together. You will forget the good, the bad, and even the ugly, but there will be special moments you'll never forget.
As my grandmother Onie always used to say—enjoy every single stage of life. I'm working hard to do just that. Because while I'm sad that their tiny shoes are no longer piled by the back door, sometimes their big boots and tennis shoes still pile up there. We must be doing something right if the two that no longer live here still come back to visit.
Life is good. I am blessed to be the mother of three awesome kids. And now I need to go bake a birthday cake for our youngest (or go buy an ice cream cake, she's always liked those best).
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or friend to a child, be sure to tell them how proud you are of them today. The world will be a better place when all children feel love. Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!