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Last Bedtime Story: Mothers’ Regrets

There are times when I ache for my children when they were young. I can close my eyes and feel them clamoring up around my neck for a hug, or protection. I can taste those baby toes. I can smell the newly bathed and pajama’d little bodies. I can hear the giggles rising as the “spider went up the waterspout.”

Moments Lost
I had a painful, stabbing moment recently. I could not remember the last time I had cuddled up in bed with one boy under each arm to read them a bedtime story. It is amazing how many times in our lives we do something for the last time without realizing it in that moment.

Regrets Remain
If I could choose to change anything about the years we raised our boys it is that I would have been more present, and more grateful for some of the everyday moments.

While in the throws of child rearing life is busy and sometimes we move through it in autopilot mode. I wonder where the time went over the last twenty years. There were times where getting it done was more important to me than just being in the moment. I remember feeling tired and wanting to get the story read so that I could have the evening to myself. If only I realized that they would be gone in what felt like moments later.

There are many “last time” moments in a lifetime. I guess the key is to be fully engaged, and present in as many moments as you can be.

Truth in a Story
I did have one teary memory the other day. It was my favourite book to read to the boys, and one that makes me cry even to write about it now. Many of you who raised your kids in the 80’s will remember Robert Munch. He has written some fantastic children’s books, but no story has stayed with me like Love You Forever.

The book goes through the evolution of a mother and son. From the day she brings him home from the hospital and she sings to him:

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

As he grows she continues to sing this to him, even after he leaves the house she sneaks into his home and whispers to him as he sleeps. (Don’t worry boys). By the end of the book, the role reverses and he is the one that sings to his elderly mother. Sniff.

Our memories are precious gifts. The key is not to let any of them turn into regrets.

Regrets will hold you back from experiencing your life now, as it unfolds.

Regrets keep us from attracting more joy.

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