Tag Archives: regret

She’s Moved On And So Should You

Her crossed arms answered her question before she spoke.

She didn’t have to speak. The look on her face. The trademark crossed arms. Her favored one hip stance. All did the speaking for her.

Disappointment.

“It’s just been such a long week. And I really want to get to the airport,” I tried to explain. Twisting in my chair.

“But what about dinner? You have to eat, ” my grandmother said.

Leaning forward, I tried to justify my actions. “But Anna is so exhausted. I am, too. I’m so sorry. I know we promised but I want to avoid the traffic. We’ll pick up something quick on the way.”

Silence.

“Do you think you’ll be back for Thanksgiving?” she asked, eyebrows raised. Hopeful.

“I’m not sure,” I said, letting my voice trail off. I knew I wouldn’t. Maybe Christmas. Maybe next spring. But I was tired of the 1200 mile journeys. I wanted a break.

“It’s OK,” my sister chimed in, “I’ll bring the kids by next week and we can have lunch.” Trying to come to my rescue. It’s little consolation. I’m the one who lives so far away.

Then we said our goodbyes. And watched her on the driveway with her arms crossed. Not smiling, yet trying not to look disappointed.

Twelve years later the image haunts me.

“You have to stop beating yourself up over this,” my sister says to me over the phone.

I shift uncomfortably. I close my eyes. “I know. But I can’t.”

“There was no way you could know she was going to die. No one knew. She was always so vibrant. Even the doctor didn’t see it coming.”

“But I should have at least had dinner with her like we promised,” my eyes watering remembering my last broken promise to her. “I never even called her. That was the last time we spoke.”

“She’s moved on and so should you.” My sister is tired of this conversation. So am I. But that image of her still haunts me. That last image.

“Do you really think she’s forgiven me?” I ask, standing up now, watching a cardinal on our birdfeeder.

“Yes. She forgave you moments after you left,” my sister sighs into the phone.

“Ok. Thanks.” Not convinced, I hang up the receiver. And walk to the window to watch the birds flit back and forth. Leaning on one hip. Brow furrowed.

And arms crossed.

(This post was inspired by KitchWitch’s post which was inspired by the writing prompt at Write On Edge. Please visit Write on Edge   for more inspired writing!)

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Divorce: Standing Alone In The Wreck

If I could have a regret in my life that is wrapped up in a wonderful gift it would be my first marriage. All by itself, I regret that marriage. Oh sure, I learned so much about myself. I grew. I became a better person.

And most of all, I received an amazing, wonderful, beautiful daughter. If the way she had to come to be was through that marriage, fine. I accept it. But I don’t have to like it.

Because I hate what she has had to go through. I hate what it’s done to her self-esteem. I hate the choices she has had to make because of the split. All because I chose him for her dad.

When I was going through the divorce my attorney advised me on many things. She predicted things that would come to be and I nodded. Not in agreement. Because my ex would never, ever do the things she described. Never. Ever. (Insert wry laugh here.)

Boy. Was I wrong.

I have watched my beautiful daughter experience such dysfunction. Promises broken. Lies told. A step-mother who is insanely jealous. A woman who treats my daughter like “the other woman.” Since she was 6 years old she has had to keep secret any activity with her father that doesn’t involve her step-mother. Every movie. Every ice cream cone. Every shopping trip.

Recently, we have been weathering an amazing storm. A situation I never dreamed would happen. Out of respect for my daughter, I won’t air the dirty details. But it has ripped my daughter to the core. She wants to change her name. She wants to never see him again. She feels abandoned and unappreciated. And what tears my heart apart is that she feels unimportant, unworthy and unloved by him.

If I could go back and change something, anything – I would. Quite honestly, I have no idea what I’d change. If it means me not being her mother, I would sacrifice that for her to be treated better by a father. I only want the best for her.

And she doesn’t deserve this.

She deserves so much better.

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Filed under children, Lessons Learned, Marriage, Music, parenting

If I Could Have Just One, Make That Ten, Do-overs

If  I could just have one do-over, I would have let Scott kiss me and said, “Yes. I will go with you.” (“go with” as in date…well, as much as you can date when you’re in the 6th grade.)

If I could have nine more do-overs? I would have…

…gone to law school immediately after college. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

…found a way to live closer to my favorite place in the world. (Don’t laugh) Yes, that would be Disney World.

…stopped every stupid lesson plan that started going wrong and pushed my students harder instead of letting them (goof off) explore their creative impulses.  

…stood up to my mother more in my twenties when I was an adult and in charge of my life.

…pushed and pursued a singing career with a little more effort. Opportunities just fell into my lap and I took them all for granted.

…called my grandparents more often and begged to hear story after story after story and written every single one of them down afterwards.

…listened to my mid-wife when she told me that losing weight after a baby is difficult. Even more difficult when you’re having one at age forty. And then, I would have eaten less and better.

…been a heck of a lot more confident in high school. Because, really. How much of that crap matters now?

…waited until I was a little bit older and a little bit wiser to get married for the first time.

But I didn’t.

I said no to Scott, let’s just be friends. (even though I had a killer crush on him) I floundered after college. I stayed in the same place after college. I let my students run over me sometimes, not wanting to squash their creativity. I let my mother dictate my life until I was in my 40’s. I thought there would always be singing opportunities. I talked more about my life with my grandparents than I listened about theirs. I fed my cravings of ice cream and McDonald’s french fries when I was pregnant. I pretended I was confident in high school, but deep down I was pining to be the popular one. I married at the oh-so-wise age of 21 because, seriously, I knew everything there was to know about what was good for me.

But.

And it’s a big but.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

I have an amazing husband. Three fantastic, beautiful children. A career as a stay-at-home-mom – and who knew I would love it so much? I have a life with regrets and accomplishments and friends and scars. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Because I like who I’ve become. And I wouldn’t be me without all my experiences.

So, if I could have ten do-overs? I wouldn’t do it.

Nope.

Because then, I wouldn’t be here.

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I Always Thought I’d See You Again. Truly, I Did.

Ten years ago, in August, my maternal Grandmother (Grandma) had a stroke. My daughter and I raced up to Michigan to spend some time with her because, according to my mother, this was the end. My paternal grandmother (G.G. – she felt she was too young to be called great-grandma)  also lived in Michigan. When I told her we were coming she said she would change her travel plans so she’d be in town to see us. I told her, no. Go ahead with your plans. We’ll have lunch with you before you go. We have a limited time (just a long weekend) and we’ll be spending most of it with Grandma. But G.G. insisted.

We visited G.G. for lunch when we first arrived and then promised to spend time with her on our last day and go out for dinner with her before we were off to the airport.

The rest of the weekend was spent spending time with Grandma, trying to talk with her, sit with her, eat with her, telling stories. My daughter and her cousins played, picked blueberries, giggled and put on shows for us.

On our last day, I was spent. Emotionally. Physically. My sister and I decided to cut our visit with G.G. short. No dinner. Just visit with her for a little while and then off to the airport. I was exhausted with our whirlwind trip and I just wanted to be home. Besides, we were planning on a much longer visit with G.G. for Thanksgiving, one of her favorite holidays.

This decision was made on our way to G.G.’s house. And we were already running late. She expected us about an hour before. I was anxious about this – I hate being late – but there is no rushing my sister. When we were growing up and shared a room I used to set two alarm clocks just so we could be on time for swim practice in the morning.

G.G. was disappointed that we were late. She had every right. And then, her shoulders slumped when we told her we didn’t have time for dinner. She was so disappointed. I remember visiting with her on her screened in porch. Her eyes were a bit vacant. We were talking about recipes and she went to get her little file. As she was pulling out some favorites she handed one to my sister, a couple to me and said, “Just keep them. It’s not like I’m going to make them again.”

Our visit with her was typical. We laughed. We debated. We shared. She was a bright, strong, engaging, interesting woman. I loved our talks. But this particular visit was a tiny bit strained. A tiny bit awkward. I chalked it up to our disappointing her and promised myself I’d make it up to her when we came in November.

We packed up the kids to go. We kissed and hugged and said our goodbyes. And as we drove down the driveway I saw my G.G. standing there, next to her precious house, arms folded across her chest, looking smaller than I’ve ever seen her. She looked frail. She looked sad. I missed her already.

Without warning, she died a few weeks later. My sister called to tell me and even though she called her “Grandma” I knew exactly who she was talking about.  But this wasn’t the Grandma that was supposed to die. This Grandma was strong, vibrant and healthy. I was supposed to spend a week with her at Thanksgiving and eat her famous turkey and cucumber salad and yummy chocolate chip cookie bars.

And my other grandmother, the one who had the stroke. Lived a few years more. Happily. And with many more visits from us.

We never know how much time we have with each other. We can’t count on the next holiday, the next Thanksgiving, the next weekend. My heart still aches for G.G. and I struggle with the regret I have, disappointing her so, on what was my very last visit with her.

Please know, G.G., if I had to do it all over again, I would have done things so differently that weekend.

So differently.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again” – James Taylor

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Filed under family, Lessons Learned, Music

Tunes for Tuesday – American Tune

I am feeling so melancholy.  Sometimes I play upbeat, crazy, happy songs to lift me out of a funk. Then other times, I listen to the songs the mimic the mood I’m in, honoring and celebrating the fact that I’m human. This is one of those songs.

“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken
And many times confused” – I wish sometimes that I wasn’t the Pollyanna that I am. When people are cruel or unkind, I just don’t get it. What propels you to that level? What satisfaction can anyone possibly get from being unkind?

“Yes, and I’ve often felt forsaken
And certainly misused” – I trust too much. I believe everyone comes from the place that I come from – sunshine and roses. And then I’m horribly disappointed. Over and over. I never seem to learn.

“Oh, but I’m all right, I’m all right
I’m just weary to my bones” – And it’s true. I get over it. But I still never seem to learn. And it wears me down. So I start to mistrust or use more caution. And I don’t like the person I become. So I shake it off and start all over.

“And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease” – I know I’m not alone. But I still feel that way. Alone. Not a fun place to be.

“I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered
or driven to its knees
but it’s all right, it’s all right
for we lived so well so long” – And I know we all get out of our funk. And the struggles we were dealing with seem so far away when we look back on them. We just need to be reminded. So today, I’m reminding myself how far I’ve come. My life may not be the picture perfect scripted utopia I wanted – and that’s ok.

“Still, when I think of the
road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong
I can’t help it, I wonder what’s gone wrong” – But that doesn’t mean I don’t have regret. I wish I could be one of those people who don’t think twice. Moves on so easily. That’s not me. I second guess. I kick myself. I think if only I had done (fill in the blank). I’d like to think that I live without regret and because I don’t wallow in my past transgressions I suppose I do an ok job of it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t envy those who seem detached from the past.

“Oh, and it’s alright, it’s all right, it’s all right
You can’t be forever blessed
Still, tomorrow’s going to be another working day
And I’m trying to get some rest” – So you go to bed and wake up to a new day. A long time ago, another lifetime ago, I was married. And unhappy. And someone suggested I might be depressed. I said “No. I wake every day in such a good mood. I’m not depressed.” What I didn’t say was “Oh. You might be right. I’m so exhausted by 3pm and all I want to do is sleep. And everything at the end of the day makes me cry.” But I struggled through. And moved on. And each day got a little easier. That’s all we can hope for.

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Filed under Music