A pain in the butt, is what it is. If I had known then, what I know now, oh how things would be so different. I think about this more than I should I'm sure. I don't want it to sound as if I'm always looking back, living in the past. But I understand now, more than ever that past decisions make up many of my current circumstances. Sometimes, we fall victim to others' choices, but most often our status is the culmination of all the little and large moments in which we were in charge.
In a conversation today with a friend, I said something out loud that I have never, and I do mean never, said out loud to anyone, even myself, before. When asked what I would do differently if I could go back I said "Everything." And this wasn't even the part that shocked me, but more on that in a minute. I know how it must sound to say that I would change everything. I know you must be thinking "What about these beautiful girls, and your family, and church and friends? What about all the lessons you've learned and the memories you've made?" But you must understand the original inquiry, IF you could go back and do it all over... is not the same as, Give back all those precious glimpses of joy, Give back the girls and all of your friends and accomplishments. No, when someone says "If I had only known then what I know now" I 'm not sure they're thinking of having to give up all the wonderful things you currently have within your grasp. I think the statement alludes to the thought that we would go back in time and start over with a certain amount of wisdom we've gained. It's the reverse crystal ball. And there are some days that I'm buying.
The thing is, I'm not good enough for the good in my life. No one really is, but I'm a special case. I really just don't deserve to be here surrounded by such precious creatures. The more I get to know myself, the more I see what a wanderer I really might have been. A long time ago I subscribed to the thought that my life's work would be wife and mother. It's a great job if it's where you're talent lies. But I'm not convinced it's what I really should have done. I'm just not the natural I'd convinced myself I would be. Oh, I could never give them back, any of them. I could never voluntarily take the Exit door and leave it all behind.
Except then today, I shocked myself by saying "I am always on the brink, on that edge of being the mother that just never comes back." I couldn't believe I said it! Partially because it was so painfully true and partially because it just sounds so terrible. What mother says something like that?!? This one, I suppose. And the more I thought about that statement, the more I understood what I was trying to say. A large part of my heart and spirit cry out to be free on a daily basis.
In college (the first time over 13 years ago) I had a friend that really embraced the free spirit side of me. We rode motorcycles, fished, drove for hours, sat on back roads saying nothing and just gazing at the stars. It was a wonderful time, not a single worry in my life. Seriously, half the time I didn't even bother with class. I had no definite goals, I just knew that I wanted to travel, to soak up people and places. I knew I wanted to be free of any responsibilities and worries. I knew this to my very core, I could not wait for the next adventure. But somehow, at some point, I grew up, I became the person I thought I should be. I haven't always done the growing up bit successfully. I have to admit there has been quite the learning curve. It's safe to say that I'm still figuring it out.
But in my statement today I realized how much of my original self I have pushed away. It's not my girls' fault. I made the decision, believe me, I begged and cried and pleaded for their arrival, it was a conscious decision. But I look at my friends around me that just find so much joy in being with their children all the time. I see some of them homeschool their children and then take them with them everywhere they go. Don't misunderstand me, I love that Wrecking Crew so much that it hurts sometimes. At night, I stand in their doorways and pray and cry to God to keep evil away from them and bring joy and peace to their lives. I am forever praying for the people that are with them on a daily basis. I can actually feel my heart break a little each time they reach a milestone that says "I'm growing up!" I love them more than I thought possible. I love them more everyday. But when I get in the Mommy Bus by myself, I breathe a sigh of relief. When I lay in bed at night and think about the things I want to do, places I want to go, it often involves no one other than myself.
I worry about this a bit. Most days I'm just too busy with the business of being a wife, mother and full time student to even think about going anywhere other than what is on that day's perfectly timed schedule. The majority of the time, I have to schedule myself a potty break. There is no time for a jaunt off by myself into the great unknown. But I do worry, that maybe I'm not showing my girls all that there is possible in this life. Am I showing them what adventures await? I am pushing them to a husband, house and 2.5 kids? I don't know what the correct answer is, I find myself at a loss. I want to be good to them. I want them to feel invincible in their goals, hopes and dreams. I want them to have a realization of the fragility of life. And I certainly don't ever want them to think that their mom was just raising inconveniences. If I never get back to that wandering part of myself, I don't ever want them to think that I regretted my choice to mother them.
Maybe I'm alone in these thoughts. Maybe I'm the only mother out there that thinks if she left that things would be chaotic only for a few days, and then life would go on. The things is, I know it would. My girls are clever and strong and precious. They would be fine. It's me that would inevitably fall apart.
I am working on this, I am further evolving as a person, mother and upstanding member of society. I mean c'mon, I currently deal with poop from 5 different species on a daily basis. And that's just when I'm home. I am pushing myself to be better, more focused, and more conscientious of how my children perceive my feelings towards them. And as of today I'm scheduling a time to feed my wild side on a more consistent basis in a well controlled environment.
As for the friend, my magnificent friend, thank you for listening with such rapt attention and pretending not to think the worst of me. You are definitely a favorite.