“I can’t talk about this anymore.” I said abruptly ending the conversation.
“But mom, don’t hangup..” My son’s voice argued from 3500 miles away as I clicked the end call button.
I closed my eyes. I wanted a do-over. Or maybe a dozen do-0ver’s if I could afford them.
I was willing to finance the chance to do lot’s of things when my kids were young, especially the vacations my kids and I never took because of the drama and lean years. I wanted to do over the traumatic times and respond less prisoner of war like. I wanted to do over the deaths and the divorce and so many things I was totally unprepared to navigate the three of us through. Mostly, I need to do over all of life because I’m pretty sure if I had a second chance I wouldn’t make so many mistakes that made it harder for my children to grow up and hurt their little hearts unknowingly but all the same hurt them still.
Sitting there staring at my phone I recalled the fight that led my then sixteen-year-old daughter to move out. Of course back then, a new step mom was better.
And then I remembered the entirely dark and depressing day when guardians, my then ex-husband and I hired, showed up and took my son, against his will to a twelve-step program in the wilderness.
It’s been years since both of these events but still I can’t seem to shake the guilt I have as to how I might or what I might have done to make things different for each of my children. Divorce regret. Reacting to trauma regret. And mostly I wish I had been better equipped to handle the waves of unceasing losses that swamped our young family. But I wasn’t. I was totally out of my trauma training league and ended up doing the best I could but most likely acting fairly prisoner of war like for awhile.
I didn’t want to argue with my son. He believed it was silly for the three of us to take vacations alone and do over things that were long since done. He argued it was time for new memories and they needed to include boyfriends and girlfriends. And I wasn’t so sure. I wasn’t ready to let go of my fantasy about doing over things with just my children.
That was yesterday. …After sleeping and praying on it I picked up the phone and called my son and told him he was right. As much as I’d like to do over things with just he and his sister, it was right to include everyone he loved and forget about trying to do over and do- new, make new memories.
I’m pretty sure my children have navigated as much trauma as most children and though they have every right to charge me for a lifetime of counseling I’m pretty sure they won’t but that doesn’t mean that when I get old they won’t torture me just a little as a way of getting back at me for all the weird things I did when our life got ugly, tragic and downright difficult.
Man – us parents are lucky that soon our children will grow up to be parents and similar to us need just as much grace and forgiveness as we need today when we look back at all the things we could have done differently had we known better…
Is It Any Wonder Our Children Don’t Charge Us For A Lifetime Of Counseling Or More? Satire, Life, Family, Do Overs