Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Biggest Mistake

The contributors here at Focusing on Life come from different parts of the country, are different ages, have families or live alone, some of us work and some do not -- in other words, we come from all walks of life and have come together because of our love of photography.  We wanted a broad range of life experiences to go into this blog and I think we have achieved that.  But it is funny how often we seem to think of the same thing that we want to post about.  I guess that is to be expected with a bunch of like-minded women, regardless of where we are in our lives.

My  post for this week was already written when I read Leigh's post last week describing her experiences as a working mother of young children -- the same subject I was planning on but from the opposite end of the spectrum.  I am the mother of three grown sons and am looking back with nostalgia to the time she is experiencing right now.  I want to share an Anna Quindlen quote with you, one of my favorite quotes of all time:

"But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this.  I did not live in the moment enough.  This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swingset on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1.  And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.  I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing:  dinner bath, book, bed.  I wish I  had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

I wasn't a working mother and I still feel like it all flew by in an instant and I don't think I did it well enough, or was in the moment enough, or remember enough. But maybe that's the way it is, being a mother.  You never feel that you are doing or could have done it as well as you wanted to.  If I had a million dollars and someone offered me the chance to go back and do it all again, knowing what I know now, I would hand over that million without a second thought.

So there you have it -- two sides of the same coin.  I hope wherever you are in this journey you will share with us your thoughts and experiences.

And don't forget to keep posting your "The Sky's the Limit" shots to our Flickr group and tag them with TSTL if you would like them considered for an In Focus selection.


Carol said...

What a perfectly composed answer for Leigh. So many of us tried to respond to her worries in the comment section, but her thoughts and feelings deserved so much more. We can never be perfect enough to deserve the depth of love we are given as mothers, but our best efforts come directly from our hearts. Our love is what our children need, more than anything else.
Beautiful thoughts Terri - and what a gorgeous family portrait - and what a gorgeous family!

terriporter said...

First thing this morning, or at least first thing my time ;), I came to check and make sure my post was up and I was rewarded with your thoughtful and so appreciated comment. I had been thinking about Leigh's post a lot. You and I and the rest of us who have been through it all wanted to reassure her that she is good enough. I hope knowing a lot of us felt that way when we were raising our kids was helpful to her. Thank you for your sweet words. Much appreciated!

Dotti said...

Wonderful family portrait! But, oh, yes! The days go slowly, the years go quickly. And before you know it, your kids are grown, you're a grandparent. Remember when that seemed so far off as to be Never Never Land? And here we are, the present being the time we thought was so distant. But, Terri, we all look back with the same sense of regret, the "why don't I remember the little things?" ... after all, we're human. And maybe a bit of selective amnesia is a good thing! I've said it in these pages before: My biggest blessing as a grandparent is the ability to be more present in the moment at hand. However, even at that, I find myself rushing my granddaughter through our to-do list much as I did when I was a young mother. I've vowed to stop and smell the roses this time around.


Corinna said...

That's a beautiful collection of boys you've got there!

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Lovely family -- lovely you.

Deanna said...

You have gracefully written just the right words for all of us that regretted those times when we could have been a little more present. And that quote from Anna Quindlen was the perfect topping to this wonderful post. You and all of your boys are quite the eye-catching family....beautiful!!

Barbara said...

First off you have one beautiful family, Ms Terri. I think we all feel this at one time or another, I think it is just the way it is. No matter how much I tell myself to live in the moment it just doesn't seem to happen to me. Now in the goldern years of my life I am still not living in the moment. I guess it gives me something to work toward and hope I can accomplish.

Anonymous said...

I so love hearing this from you Terri! It really puts it into perspective doesn't it. I'm always concerned with preserving the moment, but I need to be sure to be present in the moment. Thank you friend and you have such a beautiful family!

ashley said...

leigh, i like that "i'm always concerned with preserving the moment, but i need to be sure to be present in the moment." food for thought this morning - thank you!

Linda said...

Love the quote! Lovely family! When we're in the middle of it all it seems never ending, then when we're out of the middle we wonder where it went. I like to think I have lots of memories tucked away, and my kids often bring up some of their memories of things I have forgotten.
Good times!


Sandra said...

I don't know how I got here, but I did! I love the photo of you and your husband with your three grown sons and probably a grandson.
The advantage of being older with grown children is that we have grown in wisdom. We can't go back, and even if we had a million to give, we would be our young inexperienced selves again! It seems as if you have sweet memories of when your boys were young, so you were probably enjoying all the moments at the time without realizing it! Have a happy day!

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