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.