Maya Angelou passed away last week. She was a hero to many, an inspiration.
Many of us know her quotes, without knowing it was her that spoke them.
One of the quotes I’ve carried around in my heart for a long time is this:
Boy, does that speak of my parenting. My marriage. My life.
And really, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be?
As we know better, we do better.
Take child #1. Mistakes were made. Paranoia was rampant. Worrying about every sniffle, scrape, bump, bruise. The joke that, “First child eats dirt, parent calls poison control. Fifth child eats dirt, you wonder if you still have to give them lunch.” is true in my world.
Oh, I still make mistakes. All. The. Time. Different ones, granted, but mistakes none the less. But, I’ve learned. I’ve learned to relax, to not stress, to learn better what is worth worrying and stressing over, and what to shrug off.
I’ve learned how incredibly fast time goes. I’ve learned, that no matter what I do, it won’t slow down. I’ll admit that it flashed through my mind, when Cubby first stood up, to push him over, but I didn’t. I clapped for him, and in my head and heart, I wailed, “Stoooop! Slow down! Don’t grow up yet!”
But he is. And he will.
I’ve learned to quit worrying about what folks outside my house think of me, and to focus on what the folks IN it do. Someone else’s opinion of my parenting doesn’t matter…but the opinion of my husband and kids do. (Unless one of them is grounded, and then theirs doesn’t count either.)
I’ve learned that some things really can wait, in the face of a child needing/wanting some Mommy time and attention. There’s not much that has to be done rightthisverynow in my world, that can’t wait another ten minutes.
Of course, for me, the issue is getting *back* to what I was originally doing. Still trying to learn that one.
I’ve learned that not everything is a hill to die on. Getting my way isn’t always the right way, regardless of how it feels in the moment.
I’ve learned to be more gentle in my words. I’ve learned to forgive others. I’ve learned that forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation, and that really is okay.
I’ve learned that not following the crowd can be a good thing. That standing firm in my convictions sets a positive example, not just to my kids, but even myself. I’ve learned that I don’t have to have other’s approval, as long as I have my own, and my husband’s support, we can walk the road less travelled.
I’ve learned that choosing to educate our children at home is what works best for all of us. I’ve learned that even as a homeschooler, I don’t fit neatly into any category. I’ve learned to embrace my ‘weird’, and to teach my children that individuality is a strength, not a flaw.
I’ve learned to greet the day with gratitude, rather than with a groan. To wonder what new thing will happen, rather than dread what challenge I may be facing.
And I’ve learned to be grateful for every day that passes, rather than wish it would stay. To look to today, rather than regretting yesterday, or worrying or dreaming about tomorrow.
And I do better.