When my daughter was a baby, I was entranced by her. I was also terrified and exhausted. What on earth did I know about caring for an infant? (Nothing!!)
Together, however, we grew and learned about each other and once I began to relax, we began to have fun. I remember my mother telling me on more than one occasion how obvious it was that I truly enjoyed my daughter.
Twelve years later, I still do. It's true that we have moments that are, shall we say, less than enjoyable and also true that much of the time, life is hectic - sometimes unbearably so. Over time, I've come to realize that those are the times when it's most important that I enjoy her.
Last weekend, for example, she had a basketball tournament - four games in three days. She also had a book report to write, a test to study for and we all had things we needed to do at home - a gerbil cage to clean, a house to vacuum, laundry to wash, dry, fold and put away. It would have been easy to push the panic button and spend the weekend nagging.
Fortunately, at some point in the weekend, my mother's decade (or more) old words rang in my head...and I decided that the choice was in my hands. I could make myself (and, by extension, everyone else in my house) miserable, or I could do my best to take things as they came, keep my cool and accomplish whatever I could in the crevices between activities.
The choice was obvious. I certainly can't say there was no nagging and no impatience, but there was a lot less of it than there would have been had I not made a conscious choice to chill out. And enjoy my daughter.
Her team won two games out of four (and lost a third by one point). Her book report got written, the gerbil cage got cleaned (sort of) and we all had meals and clean clothes....
...just in time for a fresh, new load of homework to be dumped on her Monday evening.
Life isn't fair. But it comes with choices.