Boz taught me an important lesson last week.
She said that she regretted not getting up to St. Louis to spend time with Schmilly over the summer. I was trying to reassure her, or make her feel better, as is my tendency, and she said, “I’ll just need to remember this feeling.”
She didn’t need me to reassure her. She didn’t need or want to feel better. She wanted to recognize that she had this feeling of regret, and though Schmilly wouldn’t want her to feel badly, Boz wanted this to be a lesson to herself for next time.
I realized all the ways this applies to parenting and life in general.
Shortly before Buds and I were married, Mom and Dad’s next door neighbor, who had been a family friend for decades, was dying from brain cancer. Buds and I were home for the weekend to firm up wedding plans, and I saw Jim sitting on his front porch. Even from a distance, and from reports from Mom and Dad, I knew he was very, very ill.
I chose to wave and drive off to our appointment with the reception hall.
That was the last time I saw him.
Over the years I’ve looked back on that time with so much sorrow and regret. The lesson of that decision has taught me well over the years.
Showing up matters.
Being a face in the crowd at the funeral…it matters.
Sending the card, making the call, dropping off the food…it matters.
Boz got that. She’ll remember the next time.
Our children, they deserve these lessons, too. This is one of the reasons Buds and I make the choices we do as parents. We talk with the children about their choices to try to ensure they understand the options, but for many decisions, we let them make the choice.
Regret can be your friend, if you learn from it.