What would you do with a time machine?

Today a friend asked, “If you could travel back to only one event, what would it be?”

There are so many events I’d want to return to. Perhaps back in time to see my grandfather or grandmother, just one more time. Or to sort out an argument with a childhood friend so we could still be in touch. Experience marrying the love of my life all over again. Find strength in laboring any of my babies and skip the epidural. So many choices. Yet, it wasn’t one of these events. For me it was parenting mistakes.

I want to go back and change my reactions toward J. There have been so many times I’ve raised my voice, shouted at him, because I was frustrated, overwhelmed, and irritated he could not be mature as I wanted. So many times I forgot he’s only a little kid.

There have been many times I’ve been tired from late nights followed by early mornings, where patience is not my strong suit. When I want my young 5 1/2 year old to be mature beyond his years. And I shout and order him about because he is not.

There have been moments where my expectations are unrealistic. I expect him to behave beyond his level of comprehension, and know how to do things exactly as I think he should.

And countless times I’ve wanted him to give me space. To move to the other couch. To go upstairs and leave me be.

But if I could go back in time to only one, I’m not sure how I would choose. Perhaps I’d choose the first time. That moment when he entered into toddlerhood and I first lost my cool.

Up until that moment I could never imagine yelling at him. Couldn’t ever think of getting upset with him, frustrated with him, mad at him. I only saw him as beautiful, precious, wonderful.

So perhaps, if I went back to that first moment, and made myself stop, take a breath, and remember how precious he was, then I might never start. Might never get mad at him for being curious, for sharing all of him, for having all his personality, for loving too much. Maybe I’d remember how amazing he is in all he does, even if I’m exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, sick, or needing a break.

Perhaps it’s too late to correct all these moments. But instead of mourning the mistakes I’ve made, I should be correcting the future, so there won’t be countless more moments when I’m too tough on him because of his outgoing, nonstop, bubbly personality. Perhaps it’s time I place more focus on who I should be, rather than focusing on who I was.

Maybe my moment I want to return to is actually now. This moment, when I can make a choice. Be conscious of who I’ve been and who I will be.

So tell me, if you could go back in time, what moment would you choose? Can you make that moment now?

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