A Regretful Miss, By Dana Joubert (Guest Blogger & Writer)

Today the first little person to steal my heart, leaves our home for good.  Raising him has been a struggle, from the custody and court battles in his early years, to the financial stress as a single mom, to the arrests and rule breaking that has plagued his young adulthood. In fact it is that very real issue of continually making rotten choices that led to this move today. While I had dreams that this day would involve a college degree, a wedding or a career offer, I have no regrets about my choice to tell him it was time to go. Discipline wise, my only wish is that I had been more consistent.
I have no regrets that once in a while I lost my temper and yelled, we are all human right? I have no regrets that I fed him processed crap in the early years, we do our best with the knowledge we have at the time, you know? I have no regrets that sometimes I couldn’t keep up with the laundry and he had to wear dirty clothing to school, or that the kitchen counter was sticky, although he complained about both. I also do not have any remorse over his journey with God. I have accepted it is his path to follow, and am pleased that he has worked out his doubts and is now a believer.
Yet, there are deep regrets. It is with sorrow that I remember how many times in exasperation, I ended conversations with him. I cringe when I think of how he must have felt when I brushed off his concerns, ignored his attention requests and expressed my annoyance.
Last night we played cards for hours. We giggled, we teased, we discussed everything. No topic was taboo in our random stream of consciousness conversation, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his thoughts on a wide range of subjects; WWII, math, comic books, and conspiracy theories were among the topics of the night.  These bittersweet moments only served to highlight the things I missed out on.
Yes, my regrets go much deeper than mismatched socks and arguing.  I regret allowing the day to day monotony get in the way of knowing this amazing young man. I regret lecturing instead of listening. I regret not putting our relationship as a priority. When I think of Jesus, who I want to shine through me as I mother my children, I think of his relationships.  He never lost one iota of his authority as he went about his ministry with his disciples, but he loved them as friends, he listened to them, he cherished them. This is evident throughout the gospels, but the Book of John displays this most dramatically, as John refers to himself as the Beloved Disciple.  I regret not being a friend to him.
So when you hear people saying that parents shouldn’t be their children’s friends, think about the time, energy and respect, that you pour into your friendships, think about the passion and love that Jesus showered on his friends, and make it your mission to not be a victim of regret.

Dana is a mother of four, parent educator and university writing instructor. In her free time she reads science fiction, writes, and runs.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing from your heart, Dana. I have three sons, my oldest 14, and I ache as you share. We all want to do the best for our kids, and love them so much. And we as moms are human, and are inadequate to be what they need. We will all have some kind of regret in looking back. Thanks for sharing yours. It’s a needed reminder to cherish these little people placed under our roof for a short time. You may be saying one sort of goodbye, but I’m guessing that there is a lot more to be written in this story of your friendship with your son. What a beautiful day you had together as a start to this new chapter.

    • Thanks for reminding me of the quite lovely time we had together, I hope it portends of times to come.

  2. Precious post Linda. With young ones at home, the reminder to stop, look and listen is necessary in my day to day. hugs!

    • It is such an unusual perspective to have one leaving the home and another who still climbs into my bed for cuddles.

    • Same here, Steph…with younger ones under foot, it’s easy to feel as if we have all the time in the world..there can almost be a false sense of time because of their youth so we have to be extra careful not to take it for granted. Reminders like Dana’s, I know, help me to take closer inventory of what is happening in the day to day as you had said. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Dana, thank you for sharing your heart. My daughter is 15 and I can relate to much of your post. There are days when I look at her and wonder where all the time has gone and I promise to do better tomorrow. And sometimes, tomorrow isn’t much better.

    Your words have touched and inspired me…thank you.

    • I tell myself “Tomorrow is another day.” time and time again, so I understand. I always have to remind myself to lean into Him when I am overwhelmed by it all.

    • So true, Erin, sometimes tomorrow isn’t much better, I can relate to that, too!

  4. Hi. I think we all have regrets as parents, as none of us are perfect, right??!! Only God is! We will mess up, foul up, swear at times, yell off and on, and just want our kids to “LEAVE ME ALONE!!”, right?? But, through it all, we pray HARD and cry out for our children to obey, understand us, and follow God. As I write this, I am about to put 2 of my girls in their room if they don’t just CHILL!!! HA! But, seriously, we do our best for God and ask for His guidance each moment of each day and pray we have got something right that day. If any of ya’ll are like me, you will compare yourself to other Moms. You know, the ones that have all their kids in perfect clothes, hair just so, potty trained at 1 1/2, etc!! This is SO hard not to do. We must rely on God to see our worth and know that we are doing our best as parents and spouses. I pray that I may have more energy for my 3 girls with a boy on the way and have energy to keep this house up too! “I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength” Phil. 4:13

    • Love your words and your response, Julie! So real and honest and Phil 4:13 is a strengthening verse to read and to claim. Yes, as you said, we do our best for God and ask for His guidance each moment of the day and depend and trust in Him to show us the way and lead us through. Our worth and sense of self has to come from Him, not the world. Thank you for your share!

  5. Christina Jay says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Dana. My oldest is about to turn thirteen but you’d think he was turning twenty. The hormonal swings keep us at odds. Thank you for the reminder that even these days are precious and I need to make the most of each of them.

  6. Dana, as I had told you, I loved this post….your honest words are moving and a strong reminder for ALL of us, no matter what stage of parenting we are in, to pay close attention to what we are doing. Even though you are mourning quite a bit of what you didn’t do, I know there is much that you have done and there is still much ahead in your relationship with your son. I know that doesn’t help with what has been…that’s where God comes in. He is faithful, He restores and He renews. Time for Him is not an issue as it is for us. Abraham waited years for a son; Isaac and Rebekah also waited years for their children. In that time, there were mistakes made in all of their lives yet those mistakes didn’t make God’s plans and purposes in their lives and in their relationships any less real. There was great purpose and learning in those mistakes that God used for the better for each of them. He meets us where we are, not where we should be. May this be the case for you and your son moving forward and may you feel God’s comfort as you end one season and begin another with him and with the promise of God’s continued presence in your lives and relationship.

    • Tonight he had a couple hours to kill here in town, and so he visited. I had been planning on watching the History channel “The Bible” to start our Shabbat, so he joined us and it was great!

  7. {Kathy} Jesus’ friendships were challenging, loving and forgiving, weren’t they? We have much to learn from His example. Thank you for this perspective. I have older sons as well as younger children. I appreciate your hindsight so much. Thanks for sharing.

    • I was thinking of doing a study on the friendships of Jesus, there is always something new to glean from The Word, isn’t there?

  8. {Melinda} What a powerful post. As mom to two teens, I have become very conscious of the things she is saying. The time I have left with them at home is short. I want so much to really hear their hearts even when it is painful and difficult.

    • God desires what you desire, Melinda. I believe you will (and already do) hear their hearts…how wonderful to have the reminders and encouragement from one another to do what we desire to do in the lives of our children. Being conscious and aware as you are is such a huge piece of that connection. 🙂

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