A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out one of my cupboards and found some old VCR tapes and decided to get them transferred to digital files for some nostalgic reminiscing.
I had been struggling lately with an ‘empty nest’ as my daughter who is now 18 years old had recently left to attend university and live in Brisbane. Feeling slightly hesitant to watch the recordings, I was fearful that the old memories would make the pain of her absence even worse.
When I did finally muster the courage to sit down and watch them I realised that I had forgotten who that little girl was back then. As I watched her in the video, playing with friends, dancing and being silly I began to reflect on whether I had been the best parent I could have been. I started to question myself on whether I had spent enough time with her and was it quality time? Did I hug her enough, laugh with her enough, listen to her enough and talk to her enough?
In the race to get everything done, did I make the effort to ‘be’ with her enough?
I thought about how time goes by so quickly and in the blink of an eye our children have become adults and are living independent lives away from us. If I had known how quickly it goes, would I have done it differently?
An article I read recently said, ‘According to new research, children who experience mindful parenting are less likely to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.’
‘Mindful parenting‘ is the chance for parents to do things with their children without having their attention drawn away from what is happening between the two of you right then and there.
As parents, perhaps the most precious thing we can give our children is the gift of our full presence, in the moment. More often than not, we are on ‘automatic pilot’, mindlessly driven by mental patterns, preoccupied with a future that never quite arrives and a past that is no longer happening. As a result, we often feel stressed, anxious and exhausted.
As the video came to an end and I turned it off, I realised that my daughter had grown into a beautiful, intelligent, funny and creative woman.
I feel blessed because she does call me often, asks for my advice, wants to come home and visit, loves going for coffee with me, shares her problems and we still regularly fall into fits of laughter.
What more can you ask for as a parent, other than to create a wonderful relationship with your children where they want to return to the ‘nest’ and spend time with you after they have left home.
My only advice to you would be to enjoy as many Mindful Moments as you can!