I sat down with my girls to watch Maleficent tonight and quickly found myself relating to the wickedly loveable main character. It was her deep regret of the irreversible spell she cast – the decision she made in anger – that made my heart bleed for her. I understood the feeling all too well; the desperate wish to alter time, to shout “do over,” and immediately be granted the chance to have that moment back. But it seems that, even in fairy tales, there are no do-overs, no one ever gets that moment back.
I suppose that I am one of the lucky few – I don’t carry a long list of do over moments in my emotional parenting baggage, because I typically stay true to two parenting rules:
- Never make a parenting decision (or any other decision) based on fear or anger
- Never interfere with a child’s (or any person’s) natural progression of thoughts, beliefs, feelings or knowledge – everyone comes to their own reality in their own time
But I strayed from those golden rules this week and was immediately rewarded with my very own wish for a do over moment.
You see, I shared the secret of Santa with my oldest daughter this week. It was a decision I made out of fear; fear of someone else telling her or fear of her anger towards me if I didn’t tell her. And, worse still, it was a decision I made without regard for my daughter’s place in time; her thoughts, beliefs, feelings about the magic of Christmas in that moment. It was a decision that I immediately regretted – one that I couldn’t take back. We don’t get moments back.
I suppose that this doesn’t sound like a very happy post tonight….wait for it.
There are teaching moments in life. This was one of them. I could certainly wallow in my regret of the decision that I made. I could continue to wish for a do over but, that would be a waste of more moments that I’ll never get back. I don’t like wasting moments. And I certainly don’t like wasting holiday moments.
So, this Thanksgiving week, I made the decision to leave for my parents early – ahead of the impending storm that threatened our plans. I made the decision to spend Thanksgiving eve with my daughters and with my parents, hulled up in their house cooking potatoes and cooling chocolate. I made the decision to wake my girls up early on Thanksgiving morning so that we could run in the Turkey Trot with my brother. We don’t normally get to see him on Thanksgiving. And I made the decision to invite my girlfriend and her family along for the run. This may turn into a new family-friend tradition. And, finally, I made the decision to allow my oldest daughter to help with the arrival of her Grandma and Grandpa’s elf-on-the-shelf, Henry, and that of our own elf, Annie. She is embracing her new role as Santa’s Helper.