I stand by the window and watch as she slowly walks down our porch steps, approaching the other kids cautiously. She is still so young. Trying to find her way in the world. Figuring out how to make friends and how to play with others. Suddenly, one of them calls, "Hi Zoe!" My heart rests as I watch her respond and break into a run towards them. She joins their game and all seems right with the world.
It causes me to pause and realize that I'm going to have many more of those moments. Times when I will watch as she is put in a situation where her self-esteem will be inflated or take a hit. I wish I could protect her from the hits, but I know that won't benefit her in the long run.
As a Mother, I constantly worry about my children. Especially how I am impacting them. Am I getting after them too much? Are they going to become perfectionists like me? Will they have self-esteem issues like me? Will they think I yelled too much? Am I there for them enough? Do I support them enough? Do I build them up enough? Do I tear them down? Am I a good example of the type of person I hope they will become?
I like a good process. How I wish there was a perfectly laid out plan on the best way to raise children. Don't worry, I know there could never be such a thing. I know that each soul on this earth is different. I also know that I was sent these two girls for a reason. I see pieces of myself and their Dad in them, but they still manage to surprise me with talents and abilities of their own. Yet, I sometimes wonder if there was someone that could do it better.
I wish to let them shine like the bright lights they are in what can be a dark world.
I pray every day to be a better parent. I strive to discipline them calmly and not yell. I try to remember they are kids. Some days I do really well at this. Some days I feel like such a failure as a Mom. Some days I wonder if I've damaged them for life with my mood.
It's funny that I am a control freak. I like to control the environment and situation as much as possible. My children have been a good lesson to me that life is uncontrollable. I know in my head that the only person I can control is myself. It's just much easier said than done. The control freak that can't always control herself. Awesome.
I guess the best thing is that I keep trying to be better than I am. I always apologize and try to make things right with them when I lose my head. I let them know that is not the way I want to act, not what I expect of myself or of them. I tell them I will keep trying to be better. I hope someday soon it will stick. All the time.
People tell me it gets much harder as they get older. That's difficult for me to imagine some days when I'm at odds with my two spirited beauties. I know they will make mistakes. I hope to be better at helping them to correct the mistakes so they learn from them, not repeat them. I look back at myself as a teenager and worry about what's in store for me as a parent. I know if they are anything like their parents, they will need me to be someone they can come to with anything (even when they feel like it's the worst thing they could have ever done) and know there will be a consequence, but that I will not shun them for it. That is what I'm working towards.
Right now I bask in their smallness. The funny phrases, children's songs, imaginary monsters and first words. They drive me crazy with their whining and quarrelling one second, and give me the deepest hugs and sweetest words the next. They are roller coasters of emotions I must teach them to navigate. It is a beautiful, but heavy responsibility.
I know I will continue to feel the tug of my heartstrings as they enter the world more and more and need me less and less. If they leave home knowing that my heart holds them with a love that is deeper than words can explain, knowing they are smart and beautiful, knowing they are of great worth, knowing I will always have their backs, knowing I am grateful every moment of every day to be their Mother, I will consider myself a success. Now it's just a matter of getting there.
World, be kind to my girls. Heavenly Father, please help me to prepare them.