Yom Kippur starts tonight. This is the Jewish holiday where we feel bad. There’s more to it, but when I first met Marc and was trying to figure out Judaism, that was the short explanation I used to explain to myself and my family. Rosh Hashana is the New Year, but then we have a week to ponder. To make heartfelt and sincere resolutions, to apologize for mistakes made over the past year, to repair relationships that have suffered, and to vow to do better. So, in the spirit of Yom Kippur, and the fact that this is a parenting blog… here are my regrets. The things I wish I’d been better at, and my hopes for this next year.
I’m sorry for all the times when I didn’t have time. Time to sit and read with my kids, or time to go for a walk, or time to go harvest the vegetables or look for the flowers or even just to sit and eat dinner all at the same time. I paid too much attention to things that seemed critical at the time, like loading the dishwasher or folding the laundry or talking on the phone, and didn’t take the time I could have to enjoy their childhood with them.
I’m sorry for all the times when I didn’t intercede soon enough. I’m a mom, I know when a fight is going to resolve itself and when it’s going to bubble up out of control. And I didn’t always stop it when I knew that the inevitable result was going to be Jessie calling Sam stupid, or Sammy hauling off and shoving her.
I’m sorry for all the times that Jessie may have felt ignored, because she’s the oldest and the most capable. The other kids’ needs were not more important, but can feel more immediate, and if I made her feel less important because of that, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for all the times that Sam may have felt ignored, because he’s the most even tempered and low maintenance. The girls are more dramatic, and sometimes it may have felt like I paid more attention to them, and I’m sorry for that.
I’m sorry for all the times when Julie was just expected to go along with the program. When her needs weren’t the most important, because we had a schedule that involved activities that she got nothing out of, like boy scouts or religious school or dance class. For all the missed naps and the times she sat and waited patiently, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry for all the times when I didn’t pay enough attention to my husband. All the times when it was easier to focus on the kids and the house and the errands and everything else, and he fell to the bottom of my list. He’s not, not ever, but sometimes in practice, it probably feels that way. For that, I’m sincerely sorry.
And now I’m vaguely depressed and pretty sure that I’m not very good at this parenting thing at all. So I’m promising to do better. To try harder, to not take the easy way out and to do my very best going forward. For well or ill, this is who I was this past year. These are mistakes I made, and I’m pretty sure that, even with the best of intentions, I’m going to make them all again next year. But hopefully not as much.