There is a lot I do wrong. Lots. I can be very cynical - too focused on the negative or mistrustful. I can get angry quickly, lose my temper (especially when I am driving); thoughtless; I don't give enough time to charity; we could be here for a while.
But there is one thing that I am so desperate to do right and that I waited a very long time to do - parenting. I spend and have spent a lot of time thinking about what it is that makes a great parent - is it the time that I spend with my daughter? Is it the toys that I buy her? Is it the books that I read to her? Is it the roof I put over her head? Is it the clothes that I buy her? I don't know. I don't know - and I am starting to wonder if I will ever know. I guess every person is different and what matters to them and what makes people special to them will be different. But I think there are universal truths about what makes a great parent versus one that is just there.
But there is something that has started to float in my mind that I am not quite sure about but that I think is worth exploring. My next door neighbours mother died and he was talking so lovingly of this amazing woman that was his mother. And just last week, I was reading an article that was in the same vain. I wonder about what I would like people to remember about me when I die.
I don't think it's morbid. I think it's quite healthy to think of the person you would like to be. I mean if you don't know who that person is, then how will you ever get there? I have had a few people close to me die and so I myself have been left thinking about all the wonderful things these people brought to my life and I wonder if someone will think the same of me.
Now as a parent, the more pertinent and pressing question for me is what kind of parent do I want to be and how would I want my daughter to remember me? What will she think of me as a person, as a parent? And so I ponder, is that the answer to the question I have about being a great parent? Should those questions and answers be the standard to which I hold my parenting self?
I still don’t know. But it’s as good a place to start as any.
I hope my daughter remembers laughing together. It’s one of my favourite things to do in life, and especially with her.
I hope she knows that I waited to have her so long, rightly or wrongly, because I wanted to be ready, focused and there with her and for her all the time.
I hope that she is proud of what I have done in my life, seen in my life, experienced in my life. I hope she knows that I lived as much as I could so that I knew and could show her how much there is in the world for her to go out and discover.
I hope that she knows that every hug, every kiss, every dress, every book, every toy, every meal, every bath was given not out of duty but because hopefully it all added up to her wholeheartedly believing that there is someone in the world that loves her so much it’s impossible to explain.
I hope she knows that every time I kiss her my heart skips a beat.
I hope she remembers how much I respected her and loved her individuality and sense of humour.
I hope she remembers our walks, our time reading together; our time dancing and singing together.
I hope that she remembers how easy it was to talk to me. That she never felt judged. That she never felt alone.
And I hope that she enjoyed her time with me so much that she can’t wait to have her own babies, so that she can have as much fun with them.
I hope that she knows that when I was tough , it was because the weight of my love was behind it.
I still don’t know. But I’ll keep working on it….