Regrets. We all have them. Arguments that lead to failed relationships, bad financial decisions, a haircut gone terribly wrong. If only we could go back in time. If only we could do it all over again. But we can’t.
I remember when I was little, how I giggled at silly moments, and cried when I watched Bambi. I remember running through the park, playing Frisbee and soccer. I remember creating concoctions, painting, and drawing funny pictures. A childhood like everyone’s. Each day a memory waiting to be created.
But I began to grow up, and slowly lost pieces of me, until one day, I was a mere shell of the child within.
We all grow older. That’s not the part I regret. What I regret is this: I regret not having enough fun as a young mother. I regret not showing my children the joy of being an adult. I regret not telling my sons to hold on to childhood, to dream like there’s no tomorrow, to laugh like it’s your last, and to play. To always play.
And I regret this: That my children saw a mom in a pencil skirt who stressed over perfectly-made beds and well-scrubbed floors; That they saw someone too serious, who didn’t giggle enough, or play, or dance beneath the rain; That we never painted daisies on the dining room wall.
I was lucky. I was given another chance. And I took it. I turned my regrets to laughter, my remorse to dreams. No, I couldn’t change time, but I could change my ways. Though my children will probably always remember a too-solemn mother, I hope they now see a new and different me. I hope they see a mom with a little girl left inside of her.
My boys had fun when they were little – I heard it in their shrieks of laughter, saw it in their smiles of delight. And as teens, each day was a new day just waiting to be discovered.
But now they are young men, determined, hard-working, qualities of which I have no regrets. I watch them, tired and worn-out, and wonder, did I teach them how to play? Did I teach them to keep a piece of the child inside?
I want them to see the joy in being an adult, to know they can still dance and play, that they can still sing in the rain. I want them to know that growing older isn’t the same as growing up.
Regrets. We all have them. I know I do. But I learned, and found pieces of me I had forgotten. Though none of us can change time, we can change our ways.
Laugh a lot, dance a little, sing often. Find a piece of the child inside of you.
A note from Frank Sinatra: