As a young mom to three little girls I wanted to get it right. I made sure they were on time for school. I made sure they were dressed properly for church, complete with huge bows in their hair. I made sure they ate right and brushed their teeth and didn’t eat too many sweets.
I felt the weight of responsibility to teach my children every life lesson, every Bible story, every right way of thinking about the world.
As I look back on those days now—“Hurry up! You’re going to be late for school!”—I wonder if I could have, no, should have, done some things differently. Yes, I have some mommy regret.
Maybe you have mommy regret, too. Maybe even this morning as you washed down that first cup of coffee while glancing at Instagram, you barely looked up as your daughter asked you to sign a permission slip.
(Not that I’ve done that before or anything.)
Maybe you forgot a dentist appointment or even forgot to pick her up from preschool.
(Not that I’ve done those things either.)
Maybe you’ve broken a trust.
My many shortcomings as a mother often leave me with regrets until I remember this quote from Maya Angelou:
“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Oh thank goodness for this grace! I’ve said such stupid things, either in haste or in my humanity. I’ve done reckless things in the name of parental responsibility. I have messed up countless times as a parent, and I pray that God would erase each and every shortcoming from my daughters’ memories.
But how I’ve made them feel? That’s a different story.
I pray that they remember that I’ve tried to look them in the eye when they have been talking to me. I hope they remember the times I’ve reached over to pray with them in the front seat of the car. I want them to remember the hugs and the kisses and the soft caresses on their head.
Someday, when they look back on the white house on Cross Street, the home where they were raised, may they remember the meals around the table accented by loud laughter, may they think of the way their friends were welcomed here, may they cherish moments by the fire wrapped in a cozy blanket.
More than that, even, may they remember that their mom’s first love was Jesus and her second love their father. Because herein lies their security, their sense of safety, their protection.
Herein lies love.
Oh Lord, please erase those harsh words, my bitter tongue, every complaint. Please forgive my shortcomings, my impatience, my forgetfulness. And please, may my daughters always remember the feeling of coming home to a warm embrace, a sincere smile, and a place where they are loved.