A Parent with No Regrets
There is no such thing. Regrets seem to come with the parenting role. Oh, maybe not major regrets that keep us guilt-ridden our entire life wishing we could turn back the clock and do it all over again. I’m sure there are some parents like that, but not most. However, even the best of parents have those tiny little regrets that will pop up every now and then to haunt them in quiet moments, things they wish they had done or not done as their children became adults.
I’ve had some of these conversations with my kids, and overall they had a great childhood and can look back with fondness. I, also, look back with only minor regrets at some things, like wishing I had more money to do more things with them. Not to buy them things, of course. I mean, I would have bought them more things or better things if I had had the money, but that’s not what I meant. I’m sure they would have loved a PlayStation or Xbox, but they were satisfied with their Game Boys. They made out in the toy department, as well, and I had to keep screaming at them to clean their rooms and there I have no regrets.
What I am referring to are trips I wanted to take, but was never able to. I would take them more places and see more things. In the earlier part of their lives, I worked quite a bit, two or three jobs at once sometimes just to make ends meet. There wasn’t a whole lot of vacation time with my work and in order to make those paychecks, I had to be there every day. There were times that I would sleep only an hour between jobs, eating a quick meal and grabbing hugs as I went out the door. For about three years, this was my life until I finally had all I could take. I quit two of the jobs, we moved into an even smaller home, and I ate normal meals with my family. Money was tighter, but I don’t regret it.
It’s never about money, these flashbacks of regret. It’s always about time. I regret not having more time with my young kids. They grew up way too fast. I wasn’t ready. To be honest, I’m still not. I want them to be little and running around in their pajamas. I want to see them hiding behind corners ready to shoot me as I round the bend. There are times I want to build a fort with blankets and kitchen chairs, crawl inside and just reminisce. I’ll just close my eyes and suddenly I can hear their tiny voices before puberty hit and started turning my boys into men. I can feel them crawling onto my lap as we read Dr. Suess or watched a Disney movie. I miss the Legos scattered everywhere, forgotten in their rush to get to the next toy; that is, I do until I remember what they felt like when I stepped on them in the dark.
I don’t regret home schooling my children during their elementary years, or the way we raised them. To see them now shows that we did a great job. I am proud of how they have all turned out, and when I miss my house being full, a call for a free meal fills the house with that sibling banter from when they were younger. The only difference is they’re quoting How I Met Your Mother instead of Power Rangers and their voices are deeper. And there are more of them - boyfriend, a wife.
We started young as parents and I don’t regret that, either. I get to enjoy them longer, to help them on their journeys further. I may even get great grand kids out of it.
To me there is no greater responsibility or greater reward than being a parent. There is no higher calling, not President or Priest, and if I could do it all again I would. I may have some parenting regrets, but I will never - Never - regret being a parent.
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