I spent some time with my daughter this weekend – it’s true you’re going to be hearing about her a lot since its her senior year – and I decided I’m an okay mom. As I watched her in the wilderness in her braids, ball cap, and perfect skin (all young skin is perfect!), I couldn’t help but comparing her to the younger me.
When I was her age, I was the one who was supposed to be dependable, and yet I set about making a series of spontaneous decisions that sent me in a direction that nobody would have ever expected. Oh, don’t worry. They weren’t detrimental decisions – I got her out of it – but I can’t help that if I’d been as smart as her, I might have learned some lessons earlier. And I if I’d been easier on her at times, I wouldn’t be worried that I ever broke her heart. If I’d never gotten divorced, she wouldn’t have to deal with the blended family thing, if I’d only this, or only that… I could go on and on with a thousand things I probably did wrong with her. But just look at her.
Just look at her. She’s amazing anyway, and better than me in a thousand ways.
I know she’s going to surprise us, probably in good and maybe not always perfect ways (if she’s human), but I can’t help thinking that she’s already at the place where I didn’t arrive until I was much older than she is now.
So, maybe I learned something from my mistake after all, and maybe I said some things to her, or did some things that she could see, that helped her get where she is.
Sometimes, we parents beat ourselves up about all the mistakes we’ve made when we’re raising our children, but the truth is, if we do our best, then it’s all we can do. And friends, just after I typed the previous sentence, I remembered that those words were recently quoted by my daughter in an article in the newspaper. I’m not sure who said them first. If I had to guess, I’d say it was my own parents.
I guess my parents did okay too. So, hang in there. Just do your best and let your kids know you love them.
If you do your best, and love them, it’s all you can do.
(Photo owned and copyrighted by Tina Ann Forkner 2016)