When my daughter was little, my mother frequently remarked on how much I enjoyed her. And my mother was right - I did enjoy my daughter. Though I didn't get married until I was 31, my husband and I wanted to take time before starting a family, and so by the time my daughter arrived, we were ready - well, as ready as anyone can be - to dive into parenthood. And while the preteen years are the times that try mothers' souls, I can honestly say that most of the time, I enjoy her still.
On any given day, however, a lot depends on outlook, and whether I like it or not, my outlook sets the tone. I can't say I wasn't warned. When I was pregnant, my friend Judy told me that a mother is the heart of the home. Little did I know then how true that was, and what a tremendous responsibility that can be some days.
Especially on the days when we need a "do-over." Some days it's me, some days it's her and some days it's both of us who set the wrong tone. No matter how it starts, it's easy to go downhill fast, and so on those days, we've each learned that we can turn to each other and ask if we can start over. Starting over begins with a hug, followed by a change of attitude.
There are very few things in life that can truly be rewound or undone, but do-overs help us to reset and try again. And since there are so many opportunities to enjoy a parent-child relationship, it seems silly to let a bad start turn into an irrevocably bad day. Do-overs teach both of us that love and forgiveness are truly at the heart of a family, and if I can teach my child that concept, I can live with a few "difficult days."
This weekend, I will officially become the parent of a teenager. I've joked that I've seen it coming, but the truth is, the difficult days fade quickly, overshadowed by the many days that I've enjoyed my daughter as a person. Though I must admit to a little trepidation as we enter this new phase, I'm also looking forward to seeing where it leads us. I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it.