"Rae, at the end of your lifetime, what's your definition of
a successful life?"1: Passion about, success in, and contentment with their character and the career they've chosen.
My answer was that I will consider having lived a successful life if all three of my kids grow up to experience:
2: Never having felt they needed or wanted to drug or medicate themselves to endure life. 3: Looking back on their childhood and saying "Wow, that was fun mom and dad! And by the way, thanks for not having any substance abuse issues that you made us deal with or exposing us to your transient relationships and lovers. Thank you for showing us loyalty. Thanks for wanting to always be there for us and not being selfish." 4: Having a healthy and loving adult relationship with me and their father and constantly building and experiencing a beautiful life together. 5: Having a healthy and loving reciprocal respect for their siblings. It's not an easy task to be a parent. But what's even harder is the lifetime of regret or the excuses we'll have to swallow if our children do not get to live the serene childhood to which they're entitled. What we give up temporarily as parents is nothing compared to a lost childhood, tarnished memories, having to choose between two parents during the holidays, and a lifetime of constantly trying childhood experiences. I know we're all weak. We all have our downfalls that we hide even from people that are closest to us. We all have our daily routines that help us survive the daily grind of living. Here's the thing about parenting: it resolves itself. Children inevitably grow up into adults just like us. And just like us, our kids will need their parents as we also do, even now, as adults. As a child I grew up watching adults in their most selfish stages, where emotions, desires, and addictions overcame logic and common sense, let alone putting a child's basic needs before their own. Many people will say, "Well, what about the money and your life goal as an Author?" Let me be clear: none of the money, success, or fame will matter if I've sacrificed the gift that I've already been given, my children. And none of my words and writing will count, if I can't back it up with my own success in living. ―LRAEBROWN