This weekend my husband and I enjoyed a night of hanging out with friends. A bunch of us get together once-a-month to share a light Bible study, eat, talk and laugh. I always walk away from these times feeling so refreshed.
This particular time I walked away not only feeling refreshed but feeling very inspired. The study was on endurance and one of the questions posed to us was, “What is something in your life that you can say you don’t have regrets about?” I really liked that question. Sometimes we focus too much on the regrets in our life and fail to see that we have moments in our life where we have been able to overcome that obstacle.
A good friend of mine answered the question with being thankful that she doesn’t have to regret enjoying every season of her children’s lives. She pointed out that so many parents fail to enjoy their children. Her two boys are 13 and 18. Yes, she has gone through some difficult moments but she said that despite those challenges, she never stopped enjoying her time with her children.
I was really inspired by that. So many people are ready to see their children get through a stage that they fail to enjoy it. I have to admit that when my children were younger, I was like that. When they were babies, I couldn’t wait until they could talk. When they began to talk, I couldn’t wait for them to stop. I say that only half-joking because I do remember sometimes feeling frazzled by the constant chatter. I especially remember the most difficult years when my three children were two, four and seven years old.
Then when they were toddlers and getting into everything, I couldn’t wait until they were in grade school. Thankfully it was about the time my oldest son entered middle school that I began to stop waiting for the next season and started appreciating the one they were in. You know why? Because all of a sudden I realized that those years went by so quickly and I couldn’t redeem them.
As we are facing the end of this school year it is a very sobering thought to me that my oldest son only has two more years of high school left. Although I now have a pre-teen and two teenagers, I really am enjoying the season they are in. Is it easy? It definitely isn’t. But like my friend, despite the challenges, I am able to enjoy and appreciate the season they are in. I don’t want to have anymore regrets.
I want to learn how to parent without regrets and so that means taking more time to appreciate the good things about my children. It means focusing on the positive. It also means the realization that one day I won’t hear a door slam and angry footsteps go up the stairs. I won’t step on another Lego. I won’t hear music blasting. So instead of complaining and not appreciating even those less-than-enjoyable moments, I am going to parent without regrets.