enjoying them

 J attended a funeral this week for a coworker’s mother who passed away. He’d never met her. He knew nothing about her walking into the church two towns away. He sat down on a squeaky pew, telling me his mind was elsewhere. He thought of all the things he needed to do, stacks of paperwork, phone calls to return, meetings to plan; he had deadlines looming.

But somewhere between the piano and the processional he was struck. I know this because this tough husband of mine, his voice cracked as he told me the story.

The mother, well up in age whose body had succumbed to cancer, had written each of her children letters before she passed away, letters of memories of love and wisdom, J said.  

The pastor struggled to read her words; it was obvious he knew her well.

To each of her children she admitted her largest regret in life was that she didn’t enjoy them more in their younger years.  Oh, it was obvious she loved them, but in her last dying days she recognized she had not enjoyed them.

My eyes welled up as J told me the story. I mourned a woman who I’d never met but who I understood so well.  

I often don’t find the humor in a baby cracking eggs on the kitchen floor or a child hitting a tennis ball against the brick of our home over and over.   

But I do know how swift each season blows through, leaving only flashes of memories and blurry photos behind. And when all is said and done, I want to be able to say that I enjoyed being their mother.

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8 thoughts on “enjoying them

  1. Oh my, what lovely words. I can hardly comment for the tears. The years fly by and we mother’s MUST enjoy our children.

  2. i’m with brian. i’m tearing… and why, why, is this so hard to remember sometimes? why can’t i just say ‘no’ to me, and ‘yes’ to my son, more?

    pray for me in this, sister. i’m so glad you linked today. i hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts through imperfect prose.

  3. i find this parenthood thing sometimes harder than i could have ever imagined. my children aren’t nearly as well behaved as i was. but my parents continue to encourage me and tell me that i’m a good parent because i enjoy my children. not as well as i could, but i am so blessed by that. to have been given the gift of enjoying them is precious beyond words.

  4. Yes, this is hard to remember day in and day out. I don’t think we should feel guilty though. Maybe enjoyment is more frequent when they are older (fruits of our labor) and to be the one to remind the rest of us to take some extra time today.

    Gloria

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