A few weeks ago, I got tested. It wasn’t something that I’d ever thought possible, but it happened. Love makes you do things which in hindsight you question. Today, on this throwback Thursday, I’ve been thinking back on this.
Did I make the right choice? Did I choose wisely? Did love blind me from doing what’s right? Have I passed the test? How long until I know the results? How long until I find comfort in the fact that this test was necessary to get to where I need to be?
Let me give you the throwback.
As part of my daughter’s celebration for her 7th birthday, I decided to take her to Disney World. That was a spontaneous decision, planned within a few weeks. It was my attempt at bringing some fun into an otherwise few hectic past months. I wanted her to feel special and above all, that she was my number 1 priority.
The idea was that we’d spend 5 days in Orlando at the airport Hyatt Regency. (What an amazing hotel. The staff there were amazing!!!) The original intention was to go to Disney World on her birthday, two days after we arrived, and two more days thereafter.
Let’s just say, that this plan fell through. My daughter is a lil spitfire. She’s smart and very opinionated. I think of her as my lil lawyer in training, although she constantly advices me that she is going to be a vet. But in my idealistic, I wish, I dream world; she’s going to be a lawyer.
Anyways, staying at a hotel inside a shopping mall was perhaps not a good idea. Couple that with that fact that this mall had more Disney themed stores than even I thought possible, made staying at the hotel a colossal bad idea.
Just imagine a 6 yr old in a Disney Store; that was my nightmare. There were these constant requests for toys, stuffed animals, mementos and all other stuff kids deem necessary for survival and we the parents deem “crap”. Anyways, it was a constant battle of the wills.
Needless to say, we butted heads quite a bit on that journey. It eventually came to the point that we had such a difference of opinions that I was forced to choose between going to Disney World and or teaching a lesson.
That was my test – could I come all this way with my 7 yr old, on the basis of going to Disney, then not go? Actually, it was a bigger test than that. It was a test of figuring out why my mini me was acting out of character. It was a test of figuring out why my mini me felt so scared and so alone?
It was my job as a parent to protect her from the harsh realities of life which had recently invaded her horizons. It was my duty to allow her to be a child, to not force on her the responsibilities and attitudes of adulthood.
Until that moment, I was under the impression that I was an “aeight” mom. I was a mom who spoiled her daughter rotten; a mom who just gave and gave and gave; a mom who allowed too much; a mom who didn’t fully let her lil girl maintain her lil girl dreams.
But after that moment, I came out knowing that that my role as a mom will always be to protect, love, nourish and nurture. It was always about the love. And what I realised then, was that my daughter needed me. That I had failed in my duty to protect. That I had been so consumed in my issues, that my mini me was suffering in silence. And the one time my mini tried to get my attention, the mama bear in me woke up with a vengeance. She needed to feel extra loved, extra important and super valued. To her, going to Disney was great, but knowing that I loved her made her happy.
No matter what I am going through, I’ll always make the kids my priority. And frankly, I’m fine being an “aeight” mom in my eyes.The greater reward was in realizing that there was a reason for her out of character behavior. The greater reward was not giving in to my disappointment and perhaps frustration in not having dealt with this before. The greater reward is looking back now on this and knowing that I passed the test. That when it mattered most, I came through.
What matters most is that I’m super mom in her eyes. Kids are kids and sometimes they just need that reassurance to know that as a parent, you’ll put them above all else.
So, that’s how I got tested while on my trip to Disney – but in the end, I came out victorious. I have a happier daughter. I have a closer bond with my daughter, but most of all, I have a daughter who understands how much I love her.
There’ll be many more opportunities for “Disney”, although we did get to go.
Lesson 5: LIFE doesn’t offer do overs. So make the important lessons important enough to be a teaching and learning tool..