There's an old adage that states that a mother is only as happy as her least happy child. I can attest to that. I have felt every scrape of the knee, disappointment, illness, and heartache my children have endured, and if one of them is sad, hurt or unhappy, at some level, so am I.
Parenthood is by far my most cherished role, and usually, when I consider my impact as a mom, I feel that I do a reasonably good job of it. I'm committed to all four of my kids with the intensity of a mother lion. I love them desperately, and would do just about anything for them. They are the stars in my sky.
Yet, when my kids face difficult challenges, I catch myself wondering if I've been good enough -- if, as a parent, I've given them the kind of guidance they need to navigate the ups and downs of their lives. Most importantly, I wonder if I've nurtured the spiritual in them so they can set their moral compasses in the right direction.
A recent family gathering helped put my worries to rest. But it wasn't an earth-shattering epiphany or a brilliant new discovery that vaporized my self-doubt. Instead, it was an everyday moment, a slice-of-life experience. It was watching my kids in action.
We had come together as a family to celebrate the 18th birthday of my youngest child - my children range in age from 36 to 18, and it has long been a family ritual to take the whole tribe out to a favorite restaurant to acknowledge the day. Around the table were four generations of family members, including grandchildren, great-grandchildren, parents and great-grandparents - we are a boisterous, effervescent and happy bunch.
I watched as my children interacted with all the members of our family clan with compassion, love, respect, protectiveness, and strength. And as I sat amongst them, one of the recipients of their affection and attention, I knew that all my doubts could be set aside. As a mom, there is nothing more I could possibly hope for. My kids have learned one of life's most significant lessons -- to cherish, treasure, and nurture their familial relationships. I am gratified, grateful, and okay, extremely proud.
As I observed my offspring teasing, hugging, and loving each other, it also became clear that while I am certainly one of the prominent teachers in their school of life, they've learned the lessons, and deserve the credit for being who they are. Oh, I'm sure I'm more than a good enough mom. But I also know that it's not all about me. As parents, we collaborate with our children. We must try to provide the tools they need, and in turn, our children must utilize them productively to build a life.
What I saw around that dinner table reassured me that my parent-child collaboration has been successful. My children have built strong connections with each other, and I know from experience that such a strong foundation of support and love will benefit them greatly throughout their lives. They'll be grounded, but at the same time, they'll have the sense of security and confidence it takes to be able to fly.
Is this good enough? Yep. More than good enough.
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