It's probably not possible to enjoy every minute of child-rearing. In fact, I know firsthand it isn't, but what I can tell you is that I enjoyed shopping with my girls (minus oldest daughter) on a pretty spring day. First, we went to lunch and afterwards the mall. Not our local, easy-to-deal-with mall, but the big, overwhelming mall a few miles away.
I had promised a "surprise," though they had no idea what it was. We are so overwhelmed with work and school and sports and lessons and a very busy social schedule (the girls, not me). It was so nice to sit across from them, to have real conversation, to eat a meal in the middle of the day without rushing. They are beautiful and smart and funny and so energetic. Finally, I filled them in on the secret: shopping. They both needed some spring things, so we headed to the mall.
As I sat in the fitting room waiting for youngest daughter to emerge in the dress she was trying on, I reminded myself to enjoy the moment, to relish this time when they are still at home with me, when they value (somewhat) my opinion on clothes and style. Let me emphasize the word somewhat.
I am proud to say, thrilled to say it, actually, that they thanked me, not once but several times throughout the day. "Thanks for lunch!" "Thanks for the clothes!" "Thanks for the dress!" It occurred to me then that I'm doing okay. It's far from perfect, but on days like this it's good to remind myself I'm doing okay and my kids are doing okay, too. The sacrifices and struggles, the discipline and rules are all worthwhile in the end.
The only missing ingredient was oldest daughter, but she is raised and doing well all on her own, without the daily influence of her mother.
This right here is my greatest accomplishment.