Being two minutes late to school. The fourth discussion about cleaning up before company comes over. The grouchy tone. The broken vase. The mischief with their friends. The I told you to turn off the iPad and come help me downstairs!!!!
All these things seemed so important in the moment. They meant something–they were lessons, they were symbols. They were the tops of slippery slopes. They were power struggles. They were, ultimately, arguments. They started as reminders, started as opportunities to teach something, but they turned into arguments, they turned into fights.
But there will come a time when all the reasons, all the good intentions, all the significance of these moments will seem baffling to you. You will struggle to understand why you thought any of it mattered–you will instead wish that you let more things go, that you let this very thing go, that you weren’t such a hardass, such a tyrant, such a whatever.
Because your kid is a good kid. They always were and always have been. There was no danger of them becoming an entitled, irresponsible drag on society–certainly that path wasn’t narrowly avoided because you yelled at them on the way to school each morning.
You will regret it once it’s obvious because you’ll want to spend time with them and want them to spend time with you. But you ate up so much of that good will, destroyed so much of that natural affinity over things that never mattered, that you can’t even believe you used to care about so much.