Her feet will carry her wherever she needs to go. The road ahead is endless and full of dreams of possibilities. And, although I can't walk everywhere with her, she will always be by my side because she is a piece of me. And I am a piece of her. No matter the size of her shoes.
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In the quiet of your room I felt myself fighting back tears. In the quiet of your room I realized how quickly you are growing. In the quiet of your room I felt the incredible pressure. In the quiet of your room I felt the weight of being your mom. Being a mom, being your mom, is my greatest joy. But it is also my biggest responsibility.
The feeling of not being enough is a lie that many of us end up believing at some point. It can send us on a dangerous chase to find external things to make us feel satisfied, but there is no such thing. If we can't find happiness within, we will never be able to find it externally.
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And: your kids grow up in the blink of an eye.
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As our lives became more hectic and lifestyles more busy, the traditional model of family also shifted. No longer were women staying at home, living out their lives as "domestic goddesses," and increasing numbers of men were shown to be not particularly handy when it came to making and fixing things, and that was okay. But now, our kids don't have those skills at all. What happened?
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"Children need to be occupied, they need structure, they need predictability," the experts tell us. Heaven help you if you don't make sure to keep those sticky little hands busy between late June and Labour Day every year. After all, children need structure right? No they don't.
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"A hug is like a boomerang. You get it back right away." This is true 90 per cent of the time. But 10 per cent of the time, it's not true -- especially when you're trying to hug a reluctant teen as you drop them off at their friend's house or at school, and even sometimes when you're alone in the house with them.
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I know there are going to be many, many more hard moments when I ask myself how much longer a certain behaviour of my children's is going to last. But with each of those hard moments that I want to end, there are a dozen precious moments that I want to hold onto for a lifetime.
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I've experienced different kinds of neediness in my life: My professional contacts have reminded me since you were 6 months old how badly I'm wanted back at work. Your father has patiently waited for me to become a friend and a wife to him again. Your grandparents have always missed spending time with their only child. But nothing like this.
It's an interesting phenomenon among parents, this "just wait." What will happen if all I ever do is look out for the perils that lie ahead? I'll wait and wait and wait and then these precious years will be over. And in waiting in fear of what's next, I'll have missed the process of actually getting there.
So what's a parent to do when they realize that their child, for whatever reason, is having difficulty making or maintaining friendships? No parent wants to feel that their child is missing out or... being shunned for one reason or another... Yet, this is the reality for too many children who face rejection on a daily basis.
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The kids are growing up, and as they do so, drifting away. Their independence is greater than their need.
I think back to those days when I was smothered in children. When I knew every moment of their day. When our lives were so entwined it was difficult to see where one started and the other left off. When they were a part of me, and I was a part of them.
It all starts from the day they're born. I am proposing that, to paraphrase any person from England, you start the way you mean to go on. Let them take over your night's sleep for longer than a year? Hmmmm. Jeopardize every social plan you try to commit to? Not good.
Changing a toddler's dirty diapers is truly one of the worst things you have to do as a parent, but somehow those five minutes were some of the best of my night.