Shortly after my oldest child was born, new neighbors moved in. Word spread around the neighborhood that their three year old was dying. Of cancer. It was in hushed tones, and no one had all the facts. The me of eight years ago was terrified and therefore hid from them. The me of today would have marched right up to their door, verified the facts and asked how I could help. But that's beside the point, now, I suppose.
With that knowledge, however, the mortality of my child came to light for me. And it scared the pants off me, knowing how much I loved him. So I decided then and there, that I would never regret anything that I did as a parent. That I would make each decision carefully with the knowledge that it might come to haunt me in my later years.
I know that I won't regret not having a bigger television. I know that I won't regret stopping folding laundry to sit with my child and snuggle. I won't regret not having a tidier house, in lieu of playing with them or encouraging them to use every color in the crayon box. I might regret telling them that pee will come out their eyes when they're in therapy when they're older, but I'm hoping they'll just get a good laugh out of it.
I parent my children so that I won't regret a day or a decision. I would hate for something to happen to one of us and then have us filled with too many "I wish I'd's... or If only I's..."