As parents its certainly easy to see your children as your own little, snuggle-buggle teddy bear but in reality, we are supposed to be teaching them the life skills they need to develop into strong, resilient, open little characters. Kids who know that love , structure and independence go hand in hand.
My gorgeous, smiley, little Elijah is my third boy. A truly beloved addition to our family. His brothers adore him, his Daddy dotes on him and when I see him I feel like I am truly watching joy in action.
Last week I called Ngala. The 11:30pm and 3am wake-ups plus the 5am get ups were getting me down. He was getting up as much as a new-born and he’s almost two. The day he got me up at 4:30am when I was flying to Broome that day was the final straw. As I gleefully and apologetically handed him over for the weekend to Mum and Dad, I knew it was time.
We had to get rid of our excuses. He had silent reflux, he had a cyst on his tooth, he had an earache…looking back, a week after we implemented changes and three days after he has started peacefully sleeping through the night, I believe that he might not have felt that pain if he had learned how to settle himself in the first place.
I don’t begrudge him one minute of my time however, I just hope that in doing what we thought was best for him, we didn’t cause him more pain.
I don’t want to make mistakes with my children. I don’t want them to bear the burden of my own inadequacies. I don’t want to send them out into the world with scars that say “didn’t spend enough time playing with me”, “didn’t teach me how to ride my bike”, “I can’t do laundry because Mum always did it.” – but the pace of our lives and our own hopes and dreams need to figure in there somewhere.
So the result is compromise. But the answer is always love. As long as there is love, kindness, vulnerability, apologies and togetherness then there is happiness.
That is all I have seen from my little Elijah. Happiness. Pure happiness.
Isn’t that what matters? The mistakes, the worrying, the upsets, the indecision all boils down to one thing.
Our hope for our children is that they are happy human beings. Good human beings that will follow their hearts to the life that is right for them.
I have to admit that we parent all of our children differently. Because they are all different characters and as we grow as people we learn and we evolve. Daniel and I are also vastly different parents but the theme and the thread connecting every decision, every wrong step, every blunder is love.
Whatever kind of parent you are, whatever mistakes you have been blaming yourself for or are worrying over – forget them. Just give them love and they will bloom like the spectacular flowers they are meant to be.
Mistakes are not really mistakes because there are no mistakes in life. Because to stand up after you fall down means you are learning, getting stronger, and cracking open your heart that little bit further with understanding.
Don’t worry that your children will “blame you” because as you learn, you teach them independence and eventually they will understand that they cannot be completed by you.
They are an ever-revolving work of art and they are the ones that need to paint in the blank spots with there own self-love, understanding and insights. They are the only people who truly understand what they need and their life is a gift to bring all of that to themselves.
Just give them love. Give yourself love. Surrender the rest.