They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. – Carl W. Buehner
Tomorrow my youngest will be starting school and just like many other parents I’ve got a whole lot of mixed emotions going on. I often hear of people struggle with the loneliness of their youngest child growing up and of course that’s a huge part of what I’m feeling today but the feeling that has been overwhelming me the most is guilt.
Whenever your child reaches any milestone you tend to reminisce about all the memories you have of them before they got to where they are today and of course the usual question of “where did the time go?” always comes up. Now when I did this with my son 3 years ago on his first day of school I would always reassure myself that although one baby had grown up I still had my little girl who was still dependant on me and wasn’t going to school anytime soon. I remember thinking that I would try to make the most of every second of her being so little so when this day came along I would be ready for it. Well I was wrong, and I let my work consume me which didn’t leave a lot of time for me to absorb those precious years before big school and that’s time I can never get back. I think this is why I’m consumed with guilt on top of all the other emotions I had when my son started school and it’s hard to move past.
Lucky for me I have one of the best friends you could possibly ask for and a while ago now she shared with me some advice her mum gave her and its always stuck with me. Her mum said that the most important years to be there for your children are the tween/teen years as this is when they really start to be confronted with a whole lot of changes, not just with their body but with their relationships, school, independence and responsibilities. It’s during this time that being more present and building trust with your children can have more of an impact on the rest of their lives than whether you were there for them to witness their first step or not.
I don’t want to be feeling this same way when my children graduate from high school so although I may have missed some of their milestones in the early years I have made a promise that I’ll be there for them in their adolescent years when they need me the most.
Good luck to any of the other parents reading who are going through the same thing!
Thanks for reading xo