You Don’t Want Me Anymore

“If I could give you one thing in life, I would give you the ability to see yourself through my eyes. Only then would you realize how special you are to me. “– author unknown

Every day I see articles about the perfect things to say to your children, what you want them to know at every specific age to show them you love them….and I read them all, I devour the information on what I should be doing to ensure my children know that I love them more than anything else in the world. Unfortunately, most days the message gets lost somewhere between reading each and every word several times over and when I walk in the door to the chaos of after work and after school mayhem.

Last night in the rush of getting homework done and dinner on the table, and out the door to whatever the nights activity happened to be (all of those details long forgotten) and in the heat of a tantrum about being rushed out the door, my 9 year old, said, “I ruin everything, no wonder you don’t want me anymore”…words that I will never forget. The rest of the night is a blur, but that moment, those words are clear as day. It is the farthest thing from the truth in my world, but for her it was reality and in some way I made her feel that way. What could be worse than thinking the one person that would love you no matter what, doesn’t want you around anymore? I can’t think of anything worse. And I did that; I made her feel that way. Instead of showing her how much I loved her, and that I because of that love, she would never be alone, she was in fact alone, scared and lonely. There was a truth in her voice and in her eyes that said that spoke volumes; this was actually how she felt.

At that moment, there were no words I could offer for comfort, nothing I could say to make that feeling go away. I of course offered that’s just not true, I love you, I always want you, etc…but they were words to her, nothing more. It was my actions that she was hearing and they were delivering a different message.

If I could have given her anything at that moment, it would be the gift to see her through my eyes, but I couldn’t do that, so instead I need to show her through my actions and her eyes. How do you undo those feelings? I don’t know the answer, but I know I need to not only try, but to succeed. And that starts today. Today is the day I start her healing and because of that mine. I am not perfect, but I will do everything in my power for her to never feel that way again…because of me.

Today I will hug and listen instead of being distracted.
Today I will stop and observe instead of rushing around.
Today I will make a choice, to live life instead of manage a household and a schedule.
Today I will make my daughters my first priority.

They may never be able to see themselves through my eyes, but I will make sure when they look in the mirror they see the most amazing, special and loved girls I know.

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Love is the Best Place to Start a New Beginning

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I have wanted to write about my family for a long time, but never seemed to know where to start.  I was reading a post on Hands Free Mama, and came across the line, “love is the best place to start a new beginning.”  All of the sudden I knew where to start.  I needed to start with the love that I have for my 3 amazing daughters.  The struggles of love, life and family should never become more powerful than the love of family.  Making love my first priority was how I needed to begin.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, and I don’t even know that there is one specific day, time, or even event, but over the last 10 years of raising a family, I have lost sight of what is important.  Getting work done and cleaning the house became more important that spending time with my children.  Maybe not in my heart, but in my actions, and my actions are what my girls see every day.   We are the voice inside their heads, and mine was telling them that they were second best, that I didn’t have time for them, and that making their bed was more important that giving me a kiss or a hug and sharing their day.  The innocence of childhood was disappearing from their eyes, right in front of mine, and I was letting it happen.

My 10 year daughter, E, was always saying to me, “it’s ok mom”.  It’s ok was her answer to all the things I forgot, the answer to all the things that were so important to her, yet I couldn’t make more important than my phone, email, laundry.  She was reassuring me it was ok that I wasn’t making her a priority…and it wasn’t ok.   It was as if I got a shut-off notice from my kids, and unless I did something soon and made some big changes, I was going to turn something off that would not be easily fixed.  It was not going to be ok.

“Love is the best place to start a new beginning” was going to be my new mantra.

So when I got home from work the other day, I made love my priority.   I kissed everyone hello and when I asked how the girls days were, I looked them in the eyes and listened when they answered.  It was less than 15 minutes later that my regular night time routine started, and dinner was underway and homework started, but it was calm.  There was no fighting for my attention, fighting to be the first to tell me about their day.  There was calmness in the air, not urgency and love filled the room, not anger.

Later that night, E and I made snaps for her class.  She was so excited, yet so nervous and jumpy at the same time.  She was rushing through every step just to get it done, or just to get it done before I yelled about something stupid.  But this time, I let love lead the way.  We slowed down and talked while we opened the Hershey kisses.  We talked about how many were going to go in each bag, and what color ribbon each person should get.  She was so busy rushing that she wasn’t enjoying.   We needed to slow down and enjoy the small moments together.  No phone, no email, no calls, no laundry.  As I watched her nervous fingers frantically unpeeling the wrappers, it broke my heart, but I also knew that if I was aware of it, finally aware of it, I could start to heal and together we would learn to slow down and enjoy life.  Lead by example and enjoy the moments before we lost those moments.

It is time to stop managing life and start living life.  There is a long road in front of us, and every day will not be perfect.  However, I will promise to let love lead the way… each and every day, I will wake up and start new, start each day with love.

Although I can’t say for certain when I lost focus on my family, I can say with 100% confidence when I got my sight back.  It was such a simple task, making snaps for school with my daughter, but it changed the way I look at her, at life and at what is most important in my life.