Having children spaced out over 12 years allows me a unique perspective. I look back at the parent I was 12 years ago and can see more clearly now what I did right and what I did wrong. I hang my head in shame and have regrets that I parented in certain ways. Yet I can also see the fruit of my parenting and can be proud of the success of other ways/methods.
It feels like I've been given a chance for do-overs, by having my youngest children. Each one offers me another chance to do better, to "get it right," to be the mother I want to be.
One thing I definitely do better at now is having a big picture perspective. I don't get nearly as upset over small things (the spilled glass of milk, for example).
I hold my tongue more. I extend grace more.
I value the relationship with my children more than I value being right all the time. I try to live in the moment more and push my kids to the next thing less.
This quote, by an unknown source, sums up my new perspective very well.
"Each season is sweet in its own way.
Each one will be missed when it's gone.
Don't miss the beauty of the bud while waiting for the blossom. Each stage of a child's life offers us a chance to know him or her better and to grow a little closer.
Each stage also gives us a chance to grow into a better parent as we learn the lessons they teach us about
loving unconditionally, living wholeheartedly,
and giving and receiving grace."
I've always said that my children are my greatest teachers. I have learned more as a parent than I ever thought I would.
I'm so glad that God gives us opportunities to keep learning and growing through this life. How boring it would be if we truly "knew it all" at age 18!! But to learn something new as we go, to grow as we grow up... seems to be something significant to this life!