When it comes to my life, I'm a pretty open book. My kids are constantly hearing stories of when I was a kid -- like it or not. And let's face it, they're in my business all day long, so there's not much to hide.
Or is there?
Well, when I got to thinking about the things I want my children to know about me someday, it was the real story behind what made them who they are. My parenting truths, that is.
So, years from now, here's what I'll say to my three little ones, who won't be nearly as little, but will certainly be as loved.
Truth #1: I made it up as I went along.
It turns out reading all kinds of sleep, discipline, and behavior books (and articles) doesn't automatically make you a good parent. I mean it makes sense. How can there be just a few manuals when each kid is an entirely different make and model? I did my best to give each of you the individual attention and direction you needed. I made loving, educated guesses on what you would respond to and what would help you thrive. Some of it worked. A lot of it didn't. But I never gave up, I just kept adapting. And trying my best.
Truth #2: I wasn't always right.
You know this one as well as I do. Because you told me. Time and time again. But you still had to learn respect, disappointment, and boundaries. And I had to learn to be confident in my decisions, even if I wasn't totally sure of them. You see, I told you there was a good reason.
Truth #3: I was scared of bad guys, too.
Oh, you sensitive little souls. From witches to strange sounds to robbers, you were always on the lookout, needing reassurance that you would be safe. But you know what? I was scared too. Every time I sent you out into the world to new coaches, teachers, and friends, I prayed that they would know how to take good care of you. To help you grow with enthusiasm and confidence. To help you learn right from wrong. But not everyone did. And -- together -- we learned new lessons, and became stronger people for it.
Truth #4: I loved nothing more than seeing you smile.
Not in the "cheeeeese" kind of way. But in the wow-I-just-showed-the-jungle-gym-who's-king kind of way. And even in the guilty-as-can-be-but-still-gonna-deny-it kind of way. Because that's when you were being totally you. That little spark inside you was lit and it shone through your beautiful eyes. We would both get so lost in that moment, that it seemed nothing else mattered. And you know what? Nothing else did matter.
Truth #5: I wouldn't trade a second of our time together.
Goodness knows, there are moments I wish away in my head. The stitches, the meltdowns, the heartaches, the losses. But the truth of the matter is, those defining moments made you the strong, lovable, capable, funny, resilient, kind people you are today. You may have heard me sigh too loudly, or seen me roll my eyes -- heck, I know you did, all too often -- but the truth is, I love you madly.
Forever and always.
What about you? What would you want your kids to know about you someday?
Amy is a Shine Parenting Guru. When she's not wrapped up in her three kids (ages 2, 4, and 7), she's writing about their adventures at Using Our Words. Don't miss a laugh, follow Using Our Words on Facebook.