My son just celebrated his twenty-ninth birthday. We went out for dinner at an elegant, trendy restaurant, my son and his partner, my daughter and her boyfriend, only Emily our rescue child was missing, working at the track in Del Mar, CA. succeeding, enjoying her quest; she was missed, but it was a joy to have the rest of us together to celebrate my first born.
There is nothing I would change about my son. That’s not to say he’s perfect, no one is, but he is complete and wonderful, funny and smart and kind, I wouldn’t change a thing. I take no credit for the person he is, and whenever one of my kid’s birthdays rolls around I think it is a perfect time to reflect on the parent I’ve been.
I don’t know if I have been a good parent. I know I love my kids with all my being, every ounce, every fiber, every single speck of me loves my kids, I would lay down my life for them, walk through fire, give up everything I have and own for them, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been a great parent, or even a good one. I’ve tried, I really have, I know I’ve done my best and hopefully my best is good enough.
I wonder if I have given them enough? Have I given them enough guidance, enough structure, enough opportunities? Have I given them too much? Have I spoiled them, made things too easy, held them up when I should have let them fall? I don’t know. I guess I could ask them, but then maybe they don’t know, and it is subjective. My sister thinks our mother was a bad parent, and I remember her as a great one, a difference of birth order, timing, personality, something, gives us completely different perspectives on the same mom. My kids love me, I know they do, and they know they are loved beyond measure. Their success is not measured by what they do, but by who they are, and it is an important distinction – too many people I know weigh success by what they do, how much they earn, how important a position they hold, never mind the kind of person they are, the way they interact with the world around them.
If nothing else, I hope I’ve given my kids the knowledge that who they are, how they treat people, animals and their environment is what matters. How they respect the world around them and how they nurture relationships is what is important, not how much money they make, the car they drive, the address where they live. I hope I’ve given them a thirst for travel, for new experiences and cultures, for exploration and risk, for seeking out the unusual and the rare experiences that emblazon a soul for more. I hope I have made them curious – curiosity is one of the greatest things we can have as humans. I know they both have a love for animals that started with us – the rats and guinea pigs, the rabbits, the dogs, the horses and goats, ours was a home always filled with pets, and from having pets they learned about responsibility, empathy, loss, joy, and even sex. I hope I have taught them every day offers a new opportunity, new hope, new chances for joy. I hope they’ve seen in their dad and me how love can work over the long haul, over decades, through good and bad, and how flexibility and trust lie at the heart of all relationships.
I think I have, we have, my husband and I. Looking at my kids I see people I am happy to know, people I look up to for who they are. Both of them have attributes I wish I had, things about them that make them special and so beyond the ordinary. I don’t know how much came from the parenting they received, or if it was simply innate, but either way, I admire and respect them both.
I look up to my kids, how great is that?