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Challenge: Parent Fails

Just for tomorrow...

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Last night, I went into my daughter’s room to tell her goodnight, but she had already fallen asleep.

As I bent down to kiss her pudgy cheek, I came to an uncomfortable realization. I noticed that her room was clean and her teeth were brushed, but it occurred to me that I had absolutely no idea as to the details of her day, or what adventures she’d had.

Yeah, we’d stayed on schedule and followed our daily routine, I’d made sure of that, but it seemed as though my desire to run an orderly structured home allowed for little to no down time or lighthearted interaction. Staring at her little hands and chipped toenail polish, I realized that this was the very last time I would see her at this size, on this day, in this hour. It was during this moment of painful reflection that I decided I was going to do things totally differently in the morning.

I was determined to make tomorrow a complete do over.

Just for tomorrow, I’m going to wake her up a little bit earlier so that before breakfast we will have time to play, and chase, and tickle, and laugh until our stomachs hurt. I’m going to let her take her time picking out her clothes and hair ornaments, because I know it’s important for her to be a creative individual and not a clone of her mother. I’m going to let her choose whatever she wants to eat for breakfast, even if that means last night’s leftover pizza, since I know that not having a perfect meal every now and again won’t destroy her. I’m going to sit at the table and eat with her, and listen to every one of her stories, even the ones I’ve heard many times before, and laugh at her jokes loudly and sincerely. I’m going to share a secret with her and hope that she returns the favor. I’m going to ask her about everything that makes her nervous, mad, apprehensive and sad, and tell her my fears as well. And I’m going to talk to her about her friends, tell her about mine, and explain the reasons why I have chosen to keep them in my life.

Just for tomorrow, I’m not going to remind her to make her bed or put her breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. I know it’s important for her to clean up after herself but if by chance we are having too much fun joking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company then I don’t want to ruin the moment by inserting a task which can be handled at a different time or on a different day. I’m not going to rush her through her morning routine, and if she decides to stop and play with a long lost toy, or read the back of the cereal box, or arrange her stuffed animals so that they can visit with each other while she’s gone, then that’ll be okay too. I’m not going to nag her about her messy backpack or pester her to take care of a chore as soon as she comes home from school, because I want to enjoy this moment in time and not stress about things that are really not life altering. I’m going to let her come in and out of my room a bunch of times to tell me about what happened on the playground, ask me questions or maybe even just follow me around the house, because I realize that one day, time and distance will prevent us from being together this way.

Just for tomorrow, I’m not going to tell her to stop running inside or to keep her voice down but instead be grateful that she has strong legs and lungs to do those things. Tomorrow we’re going to laugh like never before, sing even if we don’t know the words, and blow each other a thousand kisses. I’m going to enjoy every moment we have together and not agonize about the past or dread the future. I’m going to hold her tight and kiss her face just like I do when she’s sleeping and fill myself with every scent which is unique to the essence of her. And when I say goodbye to her, before she walks out into the world, I’m going to stare into her eyes and commit to memory every line, scar, mark and perfect imperfection on her face because I know that neither this day, this moment, nor this instant will ever come again.

Yeah, just for tomorrow, and maybe the day after that too,I’m gonna hold nothing back and have no regrets. I’m gonna treasure the time we have TODAY, because I’d hate to discover that I overlooked the present while scheduling for the future or worrying about the past. So tomorrow my dear, I promise, we’re going to live, and laugh, and love in the moment, and make every single second of our time together an amazing adventure and an indelible experience.

I love you.

Danine Manette is a Criminal Investigator, Media Pundit, Infidelity Expert and Author. She recently published her second book titled: Messages for Joey-A Few Things I Need You to Know, which is a collection of empowering messages for girls with a dedicated Facebook Page. Danine lives in California and is the married mother of three. You can also follow Danine on Facebook and Twitter

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