My Mother’s greatest regret as a parent is surely my greatest gift.
My Mother and I have not always had an easy relationship. There have been many paradoxes in her teachings to me – all of which I am now grateful for. They have both helped me and hindered me, but ultimately have shaped me into the woman I am today. Without hesitation, I can say my relationship with my Mother is better than ever before and I simply treasure it. Every day I grow to appreciate her, love her and admire her more deeply. I’ve learned from her successes and her mistakes. At the age of 75, she continues to have a fervour for life and desire for experience like few others I know. She consistently inspires me. I am blessed and honoured to call her my Mom.
One day, when my first born was nearing 2, I was sitting with my Mom chatting. Actually, I think chatting is out of context. It felt more like an unravelling at the seams. I don’t remember the exact date, time of day, or even the details leading to our conversation. I was in that “mother of a toddler, pregnant and exhausted fog” lol. I do remember I had one of those children who didn’t sleep well and I couldn’t sit still for more than a few minutes, as he was busy. I had just started a new job at a new company, with so much to learn on top of adjusting to world travel, time zones, jet lag and the stress and toll it takes on you physically. My husband was away for work and I was fretting….over the massive task list that was left untouched.
Lisa, if there was one thing I could go back and change as a Mother, it would have been that I played with you more.
I remember the lull as I finished the thoughts that burdened me. Often my Mom would jump right in a scenario like this with what I “needed” to do or how I should “fix it”. That usually left me feeling unheard and defeated. I’d feel like if “I was good enough” I wouldn’t have this problem in the first place. BUT, this time was different. She paused, and her tone was delivered and expressed in such a manner that I couldn’t help but instantly be open and present. As if it was also the first time she ever said it aloud or acknowledged it before, “Lisa, if there was one thing I could go back and change as a Mother, it would have been that I played with you more. I always had to have the house clean, the laundry done, the fridge stocked and the task list ruled my actions.”
Everything that was seemingly about presence was nothing about being present. The softness in her voice and spirit as she said it again, “I wished I had of played with you more”, echoed in my mind and heart. It brought me to tears as I felt this wave of compassion. It was like a moment of revelation for her, a spiritual awakening and for us both, a healing. Without getting into the depths of our dynamics, most importantly I can say, I felt loved in a way that I had never experienced from her.
From that day forward, I made a commitment to myself to play abundantly with my children. You see, you must be in the now to be able to play. So I create awareness around the time we spend together and being present. I stop to listen and engage when my boys have something to share with me. I build them up and lift them in any way I see possible because their spirit is a precious gift. I teach them, I coach them. We play together, we learn together. We mess up together and I say sorry and explain that adults make mistakes too. I acknowledge I am far from perfect and even parents have room to learn and grow. I make them a priority…I also make sure that we experience many things together as a family.
Some people may suggest that I am living my life for my children. I assure you that I am living my life for both me and my children. The gift of being present benefits all of us. I approach things with greater curiosity and an openness to the full experience. I have never felt so abundantly rich in life as I do now. By the grace of God and to the best of my ability, I am embracing the gifts and valuable life lessons received when seeing the world through the eyes of a child. ~ Thank you Mom.