I'm going to be honest. Today was not a good day. There was lots of whining, crying and tantrums. I was short with my children. I had very little patience. I seethed with anger about how they were wasting time over silly things, like not wanting to wear this shirt or not wanting what I cooked for dinner. I agonized about not getting a moment to myself, not finishing the things I needed to finish, not getting a chance to write...but really are any of those things that big a deal?
At bedtime tonight, my son chose the book "Love You Forever" for our bedtime story. If you've never read it, you really should. Here's the synopsis according to the all-knowing Wikipedia:
The story begins while a son has just been born. The story then continues through the life of the boy until he is a grown man. The mother continues to rock her son to sleep singing "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." Later, the role is reversed and he holds his elderly mother and says "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my Mommy you'll be." At the very end of the story, he is the father of a little girl, rocking her to sleep singing the same song that his mother used to sing to him.
The synopsis doesn't do it justice, especially when you're a mom and you're reading it aloud to your babies. I get a little teary eyed and I hug each child a little bit tighter as I tuck them in and give them extra kisses. As I'm going to bed that night, I think about that story and our day.
Did I teach my children kindness today? Did they see me being nice and treating others fairly? Did I show them love? Did I inspire and challenge them? Those are things that will last a lifetime. My children will learn from me, just as I learned from my parents, and just as my grand-children will learn from their parents. Obviously, you can't control your children. They'll make their own choices and decisions. But we all learn from our parents and in a lot of ways, take after and emulate them. My legacy will go on long after I've left this Earth.
So I ask myself...what kind of legacy am I leaving? Is it one filled with love? I shake my head - I'm disappointed in myself. Today was not a very good day. Perhaps I'm being a little hard on myself. We're only human after all, and we all make mistakes. Parenting can be very frustrating sometimes. But I was being selfish and impatient. Regardless, all I can do is ask forgiveness and start fresh tomorrow. I go into each of my children's rooms and whisper, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be." I vow that tomorrow I'll speak softer, that I'll think before reacting, that I will pray continually for patience and peace and that I will encourage my children to become all that they want to be and more.
Note: I wrote this over the course of a particularly cruddy week, not on any one day in particular.