Can I get a do over…on second thought

My first cliché of the new year – life has a funny way of teaching you things. Now that I have that out of my system…it is one of those truisms of life that you get a lesson handed to you, even if you were not looking for one. Lately, these life lessons are being delivered courtesy of my daughter – and this blog is an indirect result of a lot of those lessons.

Often times there is some sort of inspiration, topic or just something I want to get off my chest, that produces my stream of consciousness which manifests itself in the form of my blog. And, like clockwork, I get half way through my ranting…oops, I meant my blog and think to myself, “what in the world in my talking about?!?” (Bloggers can I get an AMEN?)

I had just wrote this elaborate (tooting my own horn) post about my immense desire to grab my hover board, buy a Delorean, hit 88mph (ok this just sounds nerdy) and go “Back to the Future” for a do over of 2012 – with the assertion that 2012 was a very tough year for me, my family, the nation and the world – if only we could do it again! Wait, what was I thinking?

If anything, and I know I am not alone, I want 2012 to be far in my rear view mirror with that little tilt lever flipped so I can further dim 2012 – what I am trying to say is, it was a tough year – but to do it over again – no thank you.  I mean, we survived the apocalypse – what possibly could be worse than that (don’t answer that). But, I think what ultimately got me out of this funk, was looking at all of this as a metaphor for parenting.

If I had a nickel for every time my Father said, “When I was your age, I had to (fill in whatever hardship story you like about growing up in the 1940’s and ‘50’s)…” I would not be writing now but would be on some tropical island sipping Mojitos. My point is, like a lot of us, I grew up listening to and internalizing how things “used” to be or how things “could” have been. This left me with the impression that those were some very difficult times but more destructively, that life would be the same for me. Very little was ever said about how things “can” be or “will” be in the future.

It dawned on me that I was becoming a newer version of my Father, by reflecting how tumultuous 2012 was, rather than being energized about what 2013 had in store. This seems to hold true for parenting. Admit it, we reminisce about how life was like before kids, “We used to sleep all day and party all night!” or, when our children were younger, “We loved (or loathed) those newborn months.” But rarely do we talk about how the future might be. Why is that? Why is it seemingly easy for us to talk about the past but perhaps “too abstract” to talk about the future?

Maybe it is because we subscribe to the notion that without heeding the lessons of the past, we are doom to repeat our actions in the future? Or, are we just a nostalgic people – more enamored by the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” of our existence. Or, just maybe, coded deep down in our DNA, we have an innate and instinctual fear of the unknown? Who knows – but as parents, it seems to me we need an attitude adjustment. No doubt, last year had its challenges, but as parents, we want better for our children. We want each year of their precious little lives to be 1000% better than the previous one. We strive to be the best parents we can possibly be and to be examples of positivity and hope for the future.

So, let’s start here by embracing 2013 and all that will happen during the year, whether known or unknown. My challenge this year (no, I am not calling it a resolution which will only doom it to fail) and my challenge to you is, to not only look forward and embrace 2013 but to also be mindful of the messages we send our children when we talk about 2012 and the past. Let us foster a 2013 full of possibility and wonder for our children and instill in them a lifetime of looking forward! Who’s with me?

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One thought on “Can I get a do over…on second thought

  1. I completely appreciate your post, but probably in a way that was unintended. 🙂 As a mother of 4 kids, the oldest just shy of turning 9…. who of course knows everything and is ready to take on the world… I feel like I’m ALWAYS looking forward. Possibly too far forward. Whenever he complains, I’ll reply with, “Get good grades and you can go to college and not have to listen to me nagging you.” or “When you graduate from college, you can get your own job and your own car and drive yourself to XYZ.” Just recently, we pointed out that he’s almost “half way to college”. (gasp!) It flows out so easily, but am I really ready for that?!

    I also tend to look (too far?) forward in my own life… When the little one potty trains, I’ll be able to ___. When they are all in school all day, I’ll be able to ____. When they don’t need my help with homework, I’ll have time to ___. When they leave for college, we’ll be able to ____. Turns out… there’s always going to be a reason why you put off doing something you want to do, buying something you want to buy, and so on. With many of my friends complaining about turning 40 over the last few years, I find myself repeating, “If 40 means that my kids are all in school full-day, potty-trained, and sleeping the night in their own bed, bring it on!! I’m looking forward to 40!” lol. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal!

    I’m not a fan of do-overs either. We live, we learn, and we move forward… hopefully on a path that makes the world a better place for us, our families and everyone we meet. 🙂

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