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

 

One

“By how many people must we be loved in order to be happy? Two? Five? 10? Or maybe only one? The one who gives us sight. Who takes away fear. Who brings meaning into our existence.”

– “A Well Tempered Heart” by Jan-Philipp Sendker

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.

On Raising a Difficult Child

Oh I really don’t want to label D. But I must be honest. He’s difficult. With a capital D. He’s 16 and his favorite word remains “No.” Easy-going, laid back, lassie faire ….yeah so not D. Over his lifetime I have learned much however. And though I am far from an expert, I can offer these five tips/recommendations/suggestions when it comes to raising a difficult child.

  1. Leave your ego at the door. By all means do NOT go head to head with a difficult child. You know where that leads you? In a screaming frenzy-blood boiling-blood pressure elevated-crazy state of mind. Trust me. I know.
  2. Don’t ever give up. As hard and as challenging as a difficult child can be, don’t quit trying. We have a sign in my office that reads “The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving of ways.” Know that being difficult can sometimes be a cover for something deeper. Have compassion. Maybe even some empathy.
  3. Continue to create opportunities….even when you know it’s fairly certain the response will be “No.” Perseverance, gentle perseverance. Lead the way.
  4. Always, always challenge the difficult attitude with love. Cliche I know. But it works.
  5. Be grateful. Yes, grateful. Why? Because raising a difficult child is an opportunity for you to become a better parent. Every situation is a chance to strengthen your parenting skills – albeit challenge your patience as well!

I have been blessed with a child who is difficult and a child who goes-with-the-flow. Both amaze me with their strengths. And, yes, they both have their weaknesses. After all, we all do. But how lucky am I to be their mom!

Do you have any more tips to add?

Christmas Eve!

It’s Christmas Eve! I would LOVE if I could just pause this day. So many wonderful memories since I was a child are wrapped up in this holiday. My boys are the same way. My youngest was given a writing prompt at school to write about Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He chose Christmas Eve. Mentioning family, tradition, his cousins – he “gets” it. My oldest loves the lights as we drive home from my parents at night. Should I even mention that their father has chosen to spend the night with his girlfriend – forgoing an HOUR with his boys and seeing his nieces (my brother’s girls) who adore him because “my time is limited with (her).” Hmmm….but his time doesn’t even exist with his youngest son tonight. The very night that T holds close to his heart. And D just asked “why isn’t Dad coming tonight?” How do I answer that? And why is that my job? And by the way, if I did answer that question honestly, it wouldn’t sound very nice. But I digress.

Tonight is going to be wonderful. Amazing. And I intend on soaking up every single minute. Some traditions change. Life evolves. Right now I am looking forward to new adventures. New memories. New.

I wish everyone a very, Merry Christmas! May your night be filled with moments that you can cherish.