I was thinking about my middle child today. When Courtney was a little girl, she loved The Wizard of Oz. A friend of mine made a lovely Dorothy costume for Courtney, and she wore it almost daily, until it was threadbare. One year, students in Courtney’s class had to make a clothespin doll representing their likenesses. This was Courtney’s:

I miss that little Courtney, and I wish that I could go back and get to know her better. If I could change one thing about Courtney’s childhood years, it would be that I would have been more present during that time with her. That one “little” change would have effected so many others.

I have regret, and it is painful. From regret comes opportunity for change, to accept responsibility, to make amends when possible, and even to forgive oneself. If we wallow in regret too deeply or try to bury it, we won’t be able to do what we can do now. Eckhart Tolle (and others) are correct in pointing out that the present moment is all that we ever have. The past is gone and unchangeable. We can only plan the future.

I love remembering Courtney as a little girl.

I’m looking forward to spending time with Courtney at Thanksgiving.

It doesn’t matter whether she lives in another state or she’s all grown up now. In this present moment, I treasure Courtney with all of my heart.

31 comments on “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard.”

  1. Crying at school! I can’t wait to meet her one day! The lovely little girl now beautiful young lady and wonderful teacher!

    Beautifully rendered, Cheri!

    You touch my heart and soul every time I come here.

    (This was so moving that I’m not even going to mention that I beat Blognut here! Boooyah!)

  2. We decided we were finished at two kids when I realized it wasn’t so much that I wanted another baby as much as I wanted another babyhood with my boys.

    The present is a pretty good place to be.

  3. Yes! We can’t ever go back.

    My mother and her sister used to drive me crazy, always rehashing the past, and I would look at them and think, “get over it, move on.”

    Treasuring the present, being in the moment, makes for a happier life.

  4. Thanks for the reminder, Cheri. As a mommy of only little ones, I think sometimes I wish away these moments…that is, wishing my kids would grow up and be independent, already.

    But it will happen all too soon and it will be too late to enjoy their innocence.

  5. With our similar histories, I can so relate to this. And now with my “second chance” (Carlie), I am so much more present than I was as a young and harried mother when my grown up kids were little ones. But I know that we, you and I, both did the best we could. And we’ve got awesome kids, large and small, to show for it : )

  6. clicking the heels of the ruby slippers again?
    all you can control, cherie, is the present, but even then control is an illusion.
    but but but… loving her is better than anything else. tell courtney you love her, in all the things you do.

  7. I’ve been having similar feelings about my daughter, who moved to another state yesterday. She’s all grown up and sometimes I feel I didn’t get enough time with her. But I know the time I did have, was good. I’ll see her at New Years.

    Thanks for the reminder to live for today.

  8. This hurts my heart. I sometimes wonder if I’m not being present enough for my child. You’ve definitely given me something to think about, O wise one. And something beautiful, too.

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  10. You always, always inspire me.
    Sometimes, you inspire me with laughter, and sass, and sarcasm, and subtle snarkiness.
    Today, you inspire me to simply Be. Better.

    Thank you.
    Tatum and Chase thank you.

    I love you.

  11. You and Jen ought to get together and discuss your regrets over your children. She is the queen of regrets. You are right on target though- the present moment is alll we have. Thanks for sharing- sweet post.

  12. I just came across you blog and had to comment. Thanks for the lovely post. My 2 1/2 year old daughter is absolutely obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, and I am struggling with “being present” in the sense of what to do when my second maternity leave ends. Your thoughts really hit home.

  13. I also have been obsessed with the Wizard of Oz my whole life. At first it was because of my terror of the Wicked Witch. I would watch for years to make sure Dorothy really did get away from her.

    Then when I went away to college, I realized the movie was a metaphor for my life. I was Dorothy. And when I moved to D.C., from Alabama, I saw that all those years of watching were prep work for the REAL OZ. And now? Yes I most certainly do: Click my heels, every single day — there’s no place like home there’s no place like home…

    Thanks for the memory.

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