As parents, we wear many hats, we walk in many shoes, and we sometimes have to take on multiple personalities. In the end, well there is never an end because we are parents of timeless beings, but…. when they are grown the main question that most of us ask is, “Did I/we love you enough?”
God gave us the gift of the most beautiful daughter in the world.
She is smart, witty, and like her mom and dad, a bit sarcastic. Keeping one step ahead of a child is hard enough. We had an extra challenge of staying a step ahead of a gifted child. Early on we recognized her intelligence, amazing reasoning skills and accelerated thought process. We encouraged her to think outside the box while still having a toe inside the cube. When you teach a child that the world is indeed round, they don’t subscribe to “the earth is flat” mentality. Sometimes this very thing was used against us, LOL. We would issue a new rule or guideline only to hear, “Ok. But what if….” and we would scramble to deal with some of the possibilities.
She has this gift of charm. She could wrap us around her little finger just by flashing that smile. Especially her daddy. Often it was a challenge to do the harder things that parenting requires; things like defining that fine line between discipline and punishment. It’s easy to chastise, and we did our fair share. It’s time-consuming to try to teach with the chastisement.
- What did you do?
- Why is it wrong?
- Why did you do it?
- How can you make sure you don’t do it again?
- Do you need to apologize or make restitution?
I had read so many parenting books. I gleaned information. I implemented. I sometimes laughed out loud at the preposterous and ineffective outcomes. Sometimes I was laughed at. The experts didn’t know our child. We did. The experts didn’t know us. Our daughter did. The experts weren’t there when simple time-outs didn’t work anymore. They would have knee-slapped and probably shared the ridiculousness of some of our methods. They worked!
But still, I have to ask, “Did I love you enough?”
I made so many mistakes. So. Many. Mistakes. I offered apologies many times, but the mistake still remained. Did I say, “I’m sorry,” enough?
There is never a finished product when it comes to children. Only legal age where they don’t have to listen to you any more. They don’t have to follow your rules any more. They don’t have to uphold your standards or morals any more. They don’t even have to pretend to subscribe to your philosophies any more. That’s when you really ask, “Did I love you enough?”
The aged result of our endeavor at parenting is one that makes us proud. She’s 22, pursuing her Master’s Degree in social work, working for a philanthropic organization, and helping to change lives. We can only HOPE that she’s truly happy. We can offer love and support. We can offer advice (sometimes too much!) and we can thrust our pride-swollen chests forward at each new accomplishment or great decision she makes.
Yet, we still question…… “Did we love you enough?”