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Parenting, Love, and Tattoos

January 17, 2007

I’m sure anyone who is a parent can relate to the days when you wonder if it is worth it all. I had many of those days raising my two daughters alone. I divorced their father when my youngest was not even two, and never remarried. (I don’t count the brief marriage when my youngest was 17.) Some people say to me, “How did you do it?” My answer is always the same. I just did what I had to do. I didn’t do everything right. In fact, there are things I did that I regret, and if I were able to have a do-over, I would do many things differently. The old “If I knew then what I know now” syndrome. But I don’t dwell in the past, and I’ve moved past the guilt of what I think I did wrong.

I think both of my daughters turned out quite well, all things considered. My oldest daughter I’ve never really worried about. She was always smart, healthy, and was born grown-up. Even before her sister came along when she was 18 months old, she was well on her way to being a mature little mommy. She is now a great mother and wife, has a very happy family life, and aims to one day finish nursing school.

My youngest daughter has had a challenging life with plenty of health issues, along with ADHD, and it’s taken her longer than her sister to figure out what she wanted to do with her life. Now she knows, and she’s going to school to be a veterinary technician, and possibly later to be a vet. This last year has been extremely challenging for her in more ways than one person should have to experience, culminating in the emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia on the day after Christmas. She told me after that last surgery that she felt that had I not been there to be her advocate with the hospital, she would have died.

Some of my friends – and even my mother – wonder (sometimes critically) why I still do so much for my children (who are now adults, 25 and 27) and often tell me I’ve done far more than many parents would have done. I just do what I have to do, what feels right for me, and what feels like the right thing to do for each child. I am – and always will be – a parent.

Today, my youngest daughter surprised me with an expression of love and gratitude for everything I’ve done for her. This makes it worth it all. And this is why I do what I do.  Love. Pure and simple.

Mom Tattoo

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