No matter how hard we try as parents, sometimes we still have a parenting fail followed by the inevitable mommy guilt.
I stay-at-home with my girls. I have always stayed at home. There was a brief 6 month period while I was pregnant with Gabs that I worked outside of the home but other than that I have chosen to stay-at-home. I have worked from home the entire time but I have always been within an arm’s reach of my daughters when they were small.
I am the one who arranges everything just so. I make sure that birthday parties are exactly what they dreamed they would be. I am the one who plans vacations. I am the one make sure Christmas morning is everything they could ever imagine. I am the same person who pulls teeth, kisses booboos, wakes in the middle of the night for every fever and puke filled moment of it. I am the one who reassures them that there are no chickens or lemurs hiding under their bed.
I am the one who makes their favorite meal. Knows their minds before they speak and knows when to hug instead of lecture. I notice the innuendos. I see the trembling lips. I know when they are fibbing or scared or nervous. I know every crease and crevice of their face and every curve of their existence. I like being that mom.
I put broken hearts back together when daddy had to leave back to Iowa. I explained the unexplainable to toddlers and when they didn’t understand, I took the brunt of their frustration and held them as their tiny broken hearts tried to make sense of it all. I cried in silence after they went to bed that maybe I had made the wrong choice.
I’ve kissed the tops of their heads and rubbed their backs as they’ve fallen asleep more times than I can count. I wake in the middle of the night to make sure they are breathing and covered. I listen when they think I am not. I make their favorite meal when they least expect it and most need it. I cuddle randomly and with wild abandon. I tell them I love them like every day is my last chance.
I was there for their first word, first tooth, first step, first breath and first heartbeat. I always want to be there for everything. I want them to know that I am forever their soft place to land. It’s never just them against the world because I am always there beside them, when they need me.
I’ve never missed a ballet or tap observation, rehearsal or Nutcracker performance. I volunteer backstage. I’ve never missed a school party, field trip or mass they’ve participated in. I am their room mom. I drive on every field trip. Never missed a soccer match, swim practice or field day. I have scheduled my life to be there for those moments. For me, there is nothing more important.
I want to show them the world and teach them to live in it, proactively. I want them to go after their dreams and know that they can do anything. I also want them to know that no matter how old they get or how far they go, I am here. I am proud of them and they are loved beyond comprehension no matter where life takes them or who they become.
I’ve never missed anything…until today. Tonight, I sent my girls off to tap class with the Big Guy like I do every Tuesday evening. I take them to ballet on Wednesdays and we alternate rehearsals. Tonight, my little one asked me if I could go instead. I said no because 1) I have a terrible migraine but 2) I have to work the book fair tomorrow morning and I needed to get some work done tonight. Then 20 minutes later, I received a text that tonight was observation night. I’ve never missed an observation night; not in 7 years. I am the crazy mom with the camera, the phone and the video recorder but not tonight.
Tonight, I dropped the ball. Maybe it was the migraine. Maybe it was the girls being sick the last 2 weeks. Maybe it was the hurried rush of the weekend. All I know is that in that moment that I looked down and saw that text, my heart broke because I missed my first “FIRST” ever because tonight was Gabs’ first tap observation. So, I’m sitting here sobbing, feeling like the world’s biggest failure.
I guess every mother has this moment of reckoning. The moment that we realize that no matter how hard we try, how much we sacrifice or how much we want to we cannot protect our children from the world or be there for every moment. Eventually, they will have to do stuff on their own and we have to trust that we taught them and loved them enough to know they can and that just because we might not be there in person, our hearts are with them always but damn it still sure hurts missing those moments.
What was the parenting fail that you instantly wished you could do over?