The gift of a lifetime

I am having one of those “life-in-review” moments as I prepare for my daughter’s wedding this weekend.  My dad’s wise and near final words, uttered to me two weeks before he died a decade and a half ago, come forth:

“Go to the beach. Make time to play with your kids. It goes by so fast,” he said.

Whew, was he right! It feels like only minutes passed from holding my newborn baby girl to soon watching my daughter stand before her new husband as a bride.

I like to think “being there” for my kids was always a priority of mine.

Still, like many other parents I know, I have had guilt and doubt over whether I parented as perfectly as I hoped.  I made mistakes, I was more stressed by challenging external circumstances than I ever thought possible,  and I did not listen as closely as I can now with a more detached perspective of my children’s unfolding lives.

Increasingly, I am learning on this journey of self-love and healing that while reflection helps in making corrections in the future, there is another step that can move one forward in positive ways: To hold ourselves with the same compassion we would give our kids if they were hurting or made a mistake.

Yes, there are moments I wish I could snatch back and do over in a different way. Yet, I did the best I could as a mother with the resources and awarenesses I had at the time.  On that note, I intend to bring to the upcoming wedding festivities a gift for myself that I hope lasts a lifetime, as shared below:



In joyful celebration,



Thanks to Beth Shedd of PhotOptimist for her original and beautiful photographic.


P.S.–I wrote a separate letter of love and support to my daughter, which I am choosing to keep private between her and me in honor of her sacred occasion. However, as a proud mom, I will be sharing wedding pictures in next week’s blog post!




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  • Dick joseph says:


    If the measure of parenting success is the way the kids turned out, then you are an incredibly successful mother. I only met your daughter a couple of times, but she was/is a remarkable young woman. She has a great example to follow.



    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Dick: Such a sweet note to receive on the week of this major milestone. Yes, Catie is a remarkable young woman, despite my parenting flaws:) You were so helpful to both of us during Catie’s college years and I am most grateful. Blessings, Gail

  • margi smith says:

    Happiness and joy are wished to you and your daughter. What a wonderful occasion to celebrate. And a great achievement as a mom, Gail. You have helped your child grow into a loving and lovable adult who can enjoy the depth of an amazing marriage.

    But to your dad’s wise point: “Go to the beach, take time to play with your kids, it goes by so fast”…I’m off to the beach tomorrow to take in one more day of sunshine! 🙂
    Congratulations and love,
    PS- don’t forget the Kleenex!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:


      Thank you for your beautiful note and best wishes on celebrating Catie’s marriage. You’re ahead of me as a mom on this leg of the journey so I appreciate your wise words. Enjoy the beach…September was always my favorite beach time in New England! Love, Gail

  • Deb Busser says:

    Wise words, Gail, as always. Thanks for sharing your journey and for keeping it real. Enjoy and savor every moment of this weekend. You have much to celebrate!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Deb: Funny your comment about “keeping it real.” It feels like only yesterday I was teaching a class helping women transition into motherhood. It was nearly 20 years ago. And even then with newborns and toddlers, the moms wanted “to get it right” and expressed guilt when they couldn’t be all loving or “on” 24/7. Over time, I have learned that no matter how good we parent, our children have their own journeys and life lessons. We can only hope we gave them a strong foundation of love from which to blossom. My daughter’s wedding IS a huge celebration and I feel so blessed to be gaining an awesome son-in-law, too!. The savoring of every moment of the festivities ahead has begun–in play and travel mode now!!! To joy, Gail

  • Marta says:

    Warm congratulations Gail.
    Enjoy every moment this weekend.
    You’re an extraordinary mom and what a gift to your daughter, your family, friends and followers.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thanks, Marta: It’s such a milestone to see my daughter as a bride…I am soooo excited to get there for the weekend celebration. Grateful for your love and support, as always. Love, Gail

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