Saturday, March 31, 2012

A letter to my future self

Someday, when Elle is grown and gone-- or simply doesn't want to spend time with her old mama any more-- remember this letter, read it, and believe it.


Dear Me:

I know you, and I know you well. Someday, you're going to beat yourself up about not being "in the moment" enough with Elle. You're going to remember only the days and times where you counted the seconds until bed/naptime, because you were tired, or Elle was tired, or you just wanted to get back to reading that book, or whatever. You're going to weep and wail about how you were too busy to just be, at the time in Elle's life where there was nowhere else she'd rather be than with you.

Future Me, stop it. Right now.

You did fine. Were you tired sometimes? Sure. Did you look forward to the evenings you had to yourself? Absolutely. Were you busy around the house and worried about what to feed Elle for dinner and thus not playing with her every second? Sometimes.

Does this mean that you ignored your daughter, or that you were a bad mother, or that you should have thousands of painful lingering regrets?

Hell no.

Remember all the times she sat in your lap and you read together? Remember when you laid on the couch and she piled blocks on your back, laughing hysterically when you knocked them off? Remember when you'd be sitting on the floor playing with her and she'd tickle the skin on your lower back, and you'd wiggle and "shriek," and she'd laugh so hard she could hardly catch her breath? Remember the walks, and the playground visits, and the nights you sang lullabyes to her in the darkness of her bedroom and she sang along, not getting all the words but always matching you on the held notes at the ends of the phrases? Remember how she'd tuck her head onto your shoulder, humming?

It's humanly impossible to spend every moment of your non-working life laser-focused on your child. What's more, it's not healthy to do that; you don't want to raise an entitled brat (hopefully, Future Me, you haven't). Don't beat yourself up over it.

Don't look back and regret the time you didn't spend with her. Look back and cherish the time you did.

Past Me