As a mom of a 5 year old, I know that there is still so much for me to learn about being a parent. I am sure that I get some things perfectly right and I am 100% certain that there are things that I do/have done/will do that will send my daughter to a therapist's couch at some point in her life. Until then, I struggle with the issues large and small like: "Is co-sleeping really ok?" - because sometimes I just can't make it to my own bed. And "When should I let her make her own decisions on picking her clothes?" - because wearing her favorite swimsuit with her cowboy boots to the grocery store just isn't appropriate. And then there's: "Should I be concerned that she knows that 'Mommy likes tequila and wine' and it is one of her favorite things to discuss around people that we really don't know?"
Yes parenting is difficult and knowing how to handle EVERY life lesson is just not something that I think I will ever master - and that's actually ok. It's ok as long as I get the really important stuff right. I am proud that my daughter is kind, and caring and sensitive and exhibits empathy toward others. And at 5, she is learning lessons that often surprise me. As we go head on into this holiday season, it is a delicate balance to avoid encouraging over consumption and commercialism while understanding that 5 year olds want stuff that they see on YouTube and television. I accept that my message of giving being more important than getting is lost when she sees the Target ad for that LOL Surprise she's been asking Santa for.
However, I am encouraged by a lesson that I learned years ago from Bishop TD Jake's book "The Great Investment" that parenting children is an investment. You plant seeds, water them and pray that they produce the harvest that you intended. And until then, you sit back and drink and hope that everything turns out ok, (OK so that wasn't exactly what Bishop Jakes said but...) And I believe that. Noa is going to make me proud! I'm sure of it. Just the other day as we were decorating the Christmas tree, I was a bit frustrated because a strand of lights had a slightly different hue than the others and I voiced this frustration with a colorful explicative to which she looked up at me and with her angelic voice gave me this lesson: "Mommy, Christmas is not about the tree or the lights. It's about the gifts you get." Thank you babe. Thank you for reminding me that although I am doing a pretty good job, my work here is not done. There are still many more glasses of Malbac to be imbibed as I continue to learn and grow as a mom and figure this thing out.
But she's half right. Christmas is not about the tree or the lights or even the gifts. It's about love and joy and peace and enjoying the time with those who are most important to you. Teaching Noa to be appreciative of what she has - not materially but the love that she receives from her family and friends - is my task. That is my task this holiday season: Teaching Gratefulness.
So with that, I'll go pour myself a glass and reflect on how awesomely unprepared I am to guide another human being into productive self sufficiency with the least amount of therapy visits possible. But I will also rejoice in knowing that we all have the tools to teach love and respect and to show our children happiness and gratefulness. And if we do that, we've done a good job!
Happy Holidays to You and Yours!