"Would you like a do over?"
I think it's pretty safe to say that many of us would love to hear those words regarding something we've done when parenting our kids.
I know there are many times that I would certainly jump at the chance.
Many of them came to mind tonight during Blogapalooza. Blogapalooza is a monthly exercise during which ChicagoNow bloggers have exactly one hour to write a post on the same topic. Tonight's topic: Write about something in your life you'd like a second chance at.
It's safe to say that there are many things that I would like to redo in a wide variety of areas of my life. Because this is a blog about my experience parenting an adolescent, though, I'll stick with that topic, as I always try to do.
In thinking about the wishes for second chances in parenting that I have, there are times I spoke more harshly than I anticipated as well as when times I was too much of a pushover.
The benefit of hindsight has shown me that I have sometimes picked the wrong battles.
Monday morning quarterbacking of my parenting makes it easy to see that often the time I have spent worrying was often a complete waste of time.
Despite all my errors, my faults, and my foibles, it seems my child has not completely given up on me as a parent and I'm realizing that while there are many of which I am not proud, some good has come of them.
It is by making mistakes that I have been reminded of the power of forgiveness. There is something amazing and powerful that comes with the forgiveness of a child, and I am fortunate to have received it repeatedly.
"It's okay!" my five-year-old niece said last weekend after I apologized for her birthday gift being a day late. It was all my fault, the result a mistake I made when typing her address. Her kind heart shone through. I was struck by her sincerity and earnestness. She was the one who gave me a gift.
The forgiveness of a teenager is also a true gift, and in a different and perhaps deeper way.
Teens have a reputation as being somewhat ruthless. "Forgiving" isn't usually among the first ten characteristics associated with them. They are known for being good at grudges. But they also have the powers of empathy and understanding and of seeing the bigger picture.
It's possible that the bumps and bruises that come with the process of growing up means they are reminded more often than adults that no one is perfect.
My husband has been a wonderful parenting partner in part because of his ability to forgive my parenting mistakes. The times when I made a parenting call that I should have consulted him on first or engaged in an excessive amount of overthinking about the impact of something minor on our parenting approach.
I'm grateful for the mistakes as a chance to learn and grow as a parent and as a person, but also because they have shown me the power of forgiveness, and for that I am grateful.
A big part of the Blogapalooza fun is seeing how different writers approached the same topic. All the posts composed tonight are compiled here.
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