Hindsight Parenting: To Give a Portion of Myself
The Gift of Myself
I do not have the ability to support my children monetarily. I admit that for a long time that could sometimes get me down, especially during the holidays. There are so many things that I wish I could get, buy and do for my kids; cars and college tuition, toys and tech, a modern sleek house they could be proud to bring their friends to, well-needed vacations and well-earned rewards. But I can’t. It just isn’t in the cards and hasn’t been for awhile. But then, just in time, while reading Ralph Waldo Emerson, I came across a line of his poetry that turned me around, that reminded me of what was important. Emerson wrote, “Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself.” A portion of thyself. Mamas…from the moment of conception we are giving the ultimate gift to those children of ours. A portion of ourselves, our bodies during pregnancy, our hearts and our minds throughout their lives. And I realized that to our children, in the moment, a portion of ourselves won’t compare to the latest iPad, but I am sure, so very sure, that someday the portions of myself that I have given to the loves of my life will be cherished as gifts that will last for an eternity.
My children, I give to you my ears. They will listen to you whenever you need to vent, to problem solve, to talk incessantly about your day. I will hear you. I promise. You have my ears. They will always perk up at the sound of your voice. They will forever ache with the sound of your cry. These ears, my ears, will listen to you always.
I give you my eyes. They will always search for you in a crowd of children on a playground, on a stage full of singers, in a crowded room full of visitors. My eyes promise that they will always light up when they rest on your face. They will focus on only you when you need them too and will always try and see things the way you see them.
My shoulders are sturdy and I give them to you. Their strength can withstand any bad news you can’t carry yourself. They will hold your sorrow, your worry and sadness. Pile your worst on them when you need a break from the hard stuff that life hands you. My shoulders will bear the load for awhile so you can rest. I give you the gift of my shoulders. Go ahead and lean on them.
You have my confidence, my unwavering certainty, and my ability to dream. My sweet children when you don’t believe in yourself, when things don’t go your way, when you doubt the universe’s plan, don’t worry. I will dream big enough for you. I will believe in your capability and resiliency. I will remind you of your greatness.
My voice may not seem like a gift sometimes, but I hope that someday you will see it that way. This voice has laughed at your jokes and encouraged you to grow. It has told you to clean your room, clean up your act and to get clean. It sang you the ABC’s, sang you lullabies and has endlessly sung your praises. It calms and soothes and coos and coddles. It will tell you like it is and never ever lie to you. My voice will always and forever until my last breath tell you when you aren’t treating yourself like the gift you are. And no matter what, I will never ever stop using my voice to tell you how much I love you.
On the other hand, I also pledge to you my silence. I will be quiet when you are about to make a mistake. After all, there is nothing more valuable than the lessons you learn from failure. I will never tell you I told you so. I promise to keep quiet when you haven’t asked my advice and will instead rely on those ears I spoke of above.
I freely give to you my heart and my mind, for you are there in perpetuity. I hear your names with every heartbeat and the essence of you pulses through my veins every minute, every second. No matter where I am or what I am doing, you are there. You perch on the sponge while I’m washing dishes. You sit amongst my students when I am teaching a class. You chatter away beside me, an invisible passenger, while I drive the car, and look over my shoulder as I write the next epic novel.
My sweet children how I wish I could give you the world. And while I may not be able to give expensive gifts or pay your bills, I can give something much more valuable. So much more. To you, I vow to always give a portion of myself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed. Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around on the 5th Monday of any month.