It had taken almost an hour for me to convince my 16 year old son to come for a walk with me and I wanted to soak up my time with him as much as I did the fresh air and sunshine.
He has no idea really, the depth of my love for him or how much I appreciate his presence and I am not sure it is possible that he will ever fully understand that.
I watched his 6’5” frame move along in extreme lankiness but also with a grace I had not noticed before. When did he transition out of gangly? Hell, when did he stop being 7 and calling me mommy?
We walked for some time in silence, perhaps neither of us wanting to fill the space with meaningless banter.
As we walked together, each in our own thoughts, I heard his voice say “Mom, do you ever wish you didn’t have kids?”
I hesitated, not because I was not sure of my answer, but more so because at the time, I could see no way to form an answer he could conceivably understand.
After a drawn out pause I said, “No, I don’t wish that, I do wish I had done things differently, but not that I never had you.”
This question caught me off guard, not because I don’t welcome the conversation, but in that brief moment, perhaps I did have to actually think about what that meant. Or more accurately what motivated him to ask.
My hope was that I could of opened up totally and told him exactly what I wished I had done differently.
But like so many times before when I could have chosen to be authentic with him, I didn’t.
I let my answer hang in the air as incomplete as a day at the beach without swimming.
It pains me sometimes to be vulnerable with people I love, at times it feels like the hardest thing in the world, my son has been a remarkable teacher for me in this arena.
I live my life trying not to harbour regrets for the choices I have made. I feel deeply that I would rather put my energy into creating the life I do want rather than looking back in condemnation at my past.
However, there are indeed things I wish I had done differently as a parent, they don’t plague me with despair as they once did but they are there, as constant reminders of my own evolution, individually, and as a mother.
I spent some time after our walk reflecting, if I could have been vulnerable with my son in that moment, this is what I would of said.
I wish that the 9 months that I carried you I had focused more on the miracle of creation that was happening inside of me rather than the fear of losing you.
I wish that I would of trusted myself more as a woman, that my body was designed to hold you and birth you, rather than be swayed by the medical system and treated as if I had a disease that needed to be treated.
I wish that when I brought you home and felt so alone, I would have reached out to other women for support, so that I could of been better for you.
I wish that I would of rested with you, holding you in my arms, rather than running myself ragged trying to clean or get my space in order for fear that it would look like I didn’t have it all together.
I wish I would of taken longer off of work to be with you, to enjoy being a mom, to get to know you in a way I watched your daycare lady achieve.
I wish I would of sat down on the floor with you, looked you in the eyes and played more, instead of trying at any given time to accomplish 20-30 things.
I wish I would of been gentler with you, that I would of taught you with love in place of fear.
I wish I could of been the mom who was totally content being home with you, but I craved outside stimulation.
I wish I had been less reactive with you, that I had enough self control not to raise my voice when you triggered my impatience or that I could of just paused, for one second before yelling.
I wish I could of developed the skills so necessary to assist you earlier on, so that I could of been a better role model, a more effective parent for you.
I wished I had relaxed into you, into your growth, into your fears, into you.
I wish I has asked you more questions, about how you saw the world and how you felt, rather than impose my own onto you.
I wish I had been more honest with you about my feelings at times rather than project anger on to you that you didn’t understand.
I wish I could of been vulnerable, instead of trying to be heroic for you. I know now, our heroism IS our vulnerability.
I wish I would of touched you more, hugged you, scratched your head, your back, simply revelling in the miracle of you.
I wish my temper had never gotten the best of me,
I wish I could of taken away every pain you experienced at the expense of unconscious people, including myself, especially myself.
I wish I had known myself better so that I could be there for you in a way that was beautiful
I wish I had never taken for granted your childhood, your presence, no matter at what age
I wish when people said to me, “Enjoy it, it goes fast.” that I would of believed them.
There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I had never hurt you
I wish with all of my heart that I could take away the times I did
I wish I had been more present for you, in the moment, rather than living behind or ahead.
I wish I had understood this journey, that it is a classroom, that we are both just learning, that I would make mistakes
I wish I would of told you more how proud I am of you, what an amazing individual you are and how much confidence I have in you.
Never for one moment of my life have I ever wished I never had you, you are the reason I still walk this earth and the reason I have made the choice to be a better human.
You are my motivation for spiritual evolution and you are the reason I work on and practice integrity in my life. It is because of you that I made the choice to deal with my pain, and it is you that propels me to continuously become aware of my unhealthy patterns and cycles.
When we are together and our egos are laid down, those are some of the most fulfilling and beautiful times I have experienced. You constantly delight me with your kindness, humour and compassion.
I cannot imagine my life without you in it and there is not a day of my life I am not in deep gratitude for the gift of you.
My wish for you, that you always know how much I love you, despite my behaviors or my words at times, that you know that my desire to be better and do better is a consequence of you.
I wish, in this life that you will live fully, connected to source, confident of your path, surrounded by the love that you are, embodied with the joy you have brought to me.
I wish, that no matter where you go, where you are and who you are with, you will feel the power of the connection that binds us, the incredible depth of my love and the infinite potential of what and who you are.
I wish you knew that you are and always will be the most magnificent part of my life. Out of any choice I have made, it is you that I am most proud of.
We walked home laughing and joking as we often do, and as I looked at my son, taking in his character, his energy, his heart, I knew without a doubt it has all been perfect, all of it, every heartbreak, every precious moment of gratitude, every challenge, I am deeply grateful for it all.