Regret Versus Guilt

So by now you must know I carry a lot of guilt. Waxes and wanes, but always peaking its head around the corner daring to be seen, guilt is ever present. At times I am able to assuage this annoying and often incredibly persistent emotion. While other times, I succumb to the drowning effects.

Certainly regret and guilt are not mutually exclusive. They seemingly both stir up negativity in many ways. But for me, in my case of divorce, one does not mean the other. To clarify – because I carry this guilt does not equate to regret. Admittedly, the weight is slowly lifting. And yet, I truly don’t think will ever completely disappear. The definition of being a parent surely includes feeling guilt. Somewhere in there it must state “be prepared to go to bed many a night feeling guilty.” But, I did not choose divorce in that I ultimately had no choice. Despite the many good “things,” some of the best were not shining through or even present. For example, I want my boys to witness love at it’s core; to experience first hand what respect looks and feels like between two people who have promised their life together; to sense compassion; to taste the sweet, sweet taste of undying selflessness; to witness patience and self-control; to appreciate the ups and downs are to be travelled together.

Yes, there is a possibility that I will never be able to personally exemplify all of this for them. But, they are no longer living in a place where the opposite exists and teaches them all that should never be taught.

Guilt? Yes. Regret? No.

This morning I read a beautiful post. It was the reminder I needed. My boys are strong. And I think that maybe, just maybe, I am too.

‘Honey, that challenge was made for you. It might hurt, but it will also nurture wisdom, courage, and character. I can see what you’re going through, and it’s big. But I can also see your strength, and that’s even bigger. This won’t be easy, but we can do hard things.’                        -Glennon Doyle Melton

 

Faith

This is long overdue. An examination of my marathon. Writing, with my left hand, about each mile. What I was feeling, thinking, seeing. I did it. And now I am having a hard time with the “results.” At the advice of my yoga teacher, I named the race. Faith. Each mile I needed to somehow relate to faith. Mentally working through each mile may just give me my life lesson she had said.

And this is where I am struggling. It was mile 16 I saw my my sister-in-law, nieces, T, my dad, and my mom. My interaction was mostly with my mom however. T and my dad where standing back and up on some stairs. I wasn’t feeling very strong at this point or at least not as strong as I had in training. And from here it went downhill. After I saw my family, it went downhill. And honestly, I think it was more after I saw my mom specifically. Ugh. I became weaker. More in my head. Weak. Beaten. Defeated. Up until seeing my mom she had been sending me supportive texts. When I saw her, she was proud. She yelled out as I ran off “How are you feeling?” and T just happened to snap a picture the moment I turned to respond. The look on my face says it all.

So why after this point, the point where I should have felt an extra boost, did I lose energy?  I can still feel what it felt like now – the lack of energy. It was a gross feeling. It was so hard to keep moving. And truly I didn’t know if I could. I became my weak, old, self full of anxiety and panic. And that turns into a downward spiral. My brother was running also. He had been a few miles behind me. I called him to say I didn’t think I could do it. He told me to keep going, he’d catch up with me. I kept looking back, looking for him. He never caught up. But, the fact that he tried so hard still warms my heart. He was there for me.

I crossed the finish line that day. Not even close to the time I had trained for and expected. It wasn’t until hours later, I could reflect back on the race and notice the many gifts.

So faith. Faith in myself. In my strength. In my abilities. Trust in who I am. And probably most importantly, feeling confident in doing what I know is right…for me. Not doubting. Yes, faith.

Gone

Today I lost my childhood friend. In fact, he was my very first friend. 43 years old and now gone. I still have a cassette tape of him and I at age 5 singing our ABC’s. He always shy and me not so much in comparison. Despite decades of not really seeing each other, he always held a place in my heart. And today that was even more obvious. A tiny piece of my heart since truly the day I was born was held just for him and through all these years it remained just for him.

His mom last saw him reading a bedtime story to his daughter. My mom did always tell me his daughter was his everything, his life. Her words “he was a great dad.” His daughter found him this morning in bed. He wouldn’t wake up. Oh how my heart breaks for her. She can’t be more than 8 years old and has already experienced a traumatic loss.

As I remain in shock and so saddened, I pray that all of his wonderful qualities will live on through the love of his life.

Peace Johnny.

Be

I’m trying, trying to demonstrate how I want my own boys to be

How I hope they will treat others…

But I am pushed back, not by them

I am not allowed to provide them the example I wish for them to witness

I have done all I feel I can, and then I try more

And my heart starts to ache, my breathing increases, but shallow

Don’t they deserve more?

Who are their role models?

How will they be better fathers and husbands if they haven’t witnessed a better example?

My purpose in my life was without a doubt to be a mom

And I will always work to be better at my purpose

 

Be kind, be considerate, be unselfish, be giving

Be love, be happiness, be compassionate, be alive

Be nurturing, be supportive, be forgiving, be strong

Be a hero in your future children’s eyes

….and do not allow a moment to slip by when you can be everything to them

 

Pain

As my oldest son D looked at me crying and yelling “It’s not funny mom when you joke you may have a boyfriend! Dad’s house is NOT my house. Stop telling me to keep some clothes there!” my heart was breaking. It quite literally felt like I was being smashed into tiny little pieces. I had no words in that moment. Just pain. This burst was apparently building inside of D. His pain glaring at me as his tears quickly slid down his beautiful cheeks. He yelled at me to “fix it.” His reference – the divorce, the two homes. As a mom, that’s what you do right? You fix it. But this I can not. So I walked heavily to the hallway that leads to his room and with a cracked voice flooded with emotion and so full of tears, I spoke the truth…”I believe your father and I have provided you with a wonderful life. And continue to give you a wonderful life. This (situation) is not what I wanted. But I have done and am doing everything I can to make this the best situation for T and you. I would like to think you’d feel I am deserving of happiness.” I just did not have the strength to look at him as I spoke. The hallway was dark and I knew he was tucked in his bed listening. His response was a sincere “I know.” Walking back to my own room, I cried myself to sleep.

My mother had given me a mug she had won for her dad at a carnival about 50 years ago. He passed away several years prior to my birth but many have said he is so much a part of me. Someone about two years ago accidentally broke the handle. I was able to superglue it back together….it continues to sit on my bureau holding miscellaneous items. Even though it was cracked, it was put back together with love and thoughtfulness. Just as it had  been presented to my grandfather from my mom so long ago – with love and thoughtfulness. It’s obviously not the same. When you look closely, you can see the crack. But it’s whole. And it’s perfect. And it represents so much.

Sometimes it’s more about how the pieces are put back together.

Epiphany

Just got back from a run. No longer running with headphones listening to music, I listen to the sound of my breath, my sneakers hitting the ground, and the vibrations of my thoughts. Suddenly during this run, it hit me. My ex-husband is a version of my mother. Their personalities are plagued with anger and manipulation. I suppose there was no irony in the fact that during the time of my separation I was also creating distance with my mom.  The need to free myself of this world I had lived in my whole life was great. It all makes sense. It makes sense that I do not want my sons’ worlds to be contaminated with these harsh emotions. Although it is a reality, a space needed to be created to allow for a healthier life. For all. I had been continuing a life when I got married that I had lived as a child. And as a result, providing that life to my children. No longer. They deserve better. And I think I do too.

It’s all coming together. Piece by piece.

Sweet Treats

Oh how I love yummy treats! Yesterday we celebrated my father’s and my birthday with my family. My talented brother handcrafted an Italian versus Irish Cornhole game. A match quickly ensued…but I’m sorry to say my oldest son and I did not win. We did give it a good go however! Turkey burgers, steak, hot dogs, hamburgers, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, fruit salad, and dips. Lacking for food, we were not. The smell of the grill, the cool breeze, the sun peaking around clouds, and the constant laughing of cousins running around was all so peaceful. Yet, it always hits me that I am “alone.” No one to steal a quick kiss from, no one to grab hold of their hand, no one to share a bite of my turkey burger. In these times, I don’t dwell on that thought – it passes through. The moments of being with my family, in that moment, are much too positive to allow any other feelings to bring me down. But it always makes an appearance.

Anyway, back to the yummy treats. My mom, in lieu of cake, purchased the most delicious looking cupcakes. One problem – I am currently following a low FODMAP diet. Ugh. So I happily wrapped up one of these beauties and placed it in the freezer to hopefully be enjoyed at a later date. I should have taken a picture of all of them – there was a variety. But the picture below is of me and my dad’s. The red candle is the one I made a wish upon just before I blew it out.

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Happy Birthday to me and my father!

My wishes tend to be the same from year to year. Intentions they are. Maybe this is the year. Maybe me blowing out a candle on a cupcake I have to patiently wait to eat, is simply a metaphor for my life right now. Be patient. The best is yet to come.