A new year. Time to think back on the last 365 days. These past 12 months have been great to my family. We have had many fun adventures and grown in love. But, as my own worst critic, that doesn’t stop me from reflecting on myself as a mother and having some regrets.
Recently Maylie, my 4 year old, has been stumbling with the feeling of regret as well. And, in turn, I have had to help her cope. Isn’t it funny how often the lessons we are trying to teach our kids are the same ones that we need a refresher on?
You see, Maylie has the sweetest heart, but sometimes, she is just 4 — and that’s ok. Instead of cleaning her room, she wants to diddle daddle around, and then she is upset when she doesn’t earn her tablet time. Or most recently, at the Christmas Eve Service at church, she just didn’t want to sing that song.
Oh, I tried to get her to sing it with me — she knew all the words. But she just didn’t feel like it that second. She pulled the teenager mope and wouldn’t get into it. When the song ended and a new one began, she instantly wanted to go back. Tears formed in her eyes as she begged me to have them play it again.
And I would have done anything to have them play it again as I saw her heart fill up with regret. She should have sung — she loved that song. If we were at home, I would have started the song again — it would have been easy and all would be right in the world. But we were in church, and there was no way for me to stop the music and go back. The song was gone. The moment had passed.
As my sweet girl spilled out tears, a new song started. One she didn’t know as well, but still one she could learn. I found myself getting down to her level to console her and as I spoke I felt like the words were being directed to me.
“You have a choice, we can’t go back now. So, you can get up and enjoy this song, or you can sulk because you missed that song. But they are not going to play it again. This is a new song. And I think you will like it very much! Now, get up and sing, baby.”
And she got up and sang and we all lived happily ever after. Just kidding. It took a couple of minutes and some major coercing from me. I sang sweet lyrics in her ear and swayed back and forth with the music. And when the songs were finally over, she looked at me with a smile on her face and said, “Mom, those songs helped me feel better!” Welcome to life, my dear child.
You see, when I look back on 2017, I have feelings of missing out on the songs that I didn’t sing. There were many mornings (especially on night shift), when I was there but not truly there. There are many times I handed them their tablets or remote to catch a half-way nap, placed Play Doh in their palms to get some work done around the house, or even promised I would be back in to sleep with them at night and didn’t make it past the couch.
I could have been a better Mom. I should have taken advantage of my days off more. I could have raised my eyes from my phone more and my voice less. I should have been quicker to finger paint and less eager to point fingers. I should have worried less about the mess on the floor and more often swept my babies up in an embrace.
But those moments have passed now. That song has been sung. I can do nothing about the things I should have done in 2017. Oh, I could sit here and dwell on how I should have done more, and I can cry for what I may have missed out on.
Or I can get up, because a new song is starting — a new year. And I may have not been participating my best last year, but I cannot go back. The only control I have now is how I will handle the next song.
And I will not let this song pass me by. Oh no, not this year. If there is one thing that 2017 has taught me, it’s that the song will continue to play with or without me. And one thing is for sure about 2018, I am going to stand up with my girls and sing.
Happy New Year!
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.