My children are graduating high school in just a few days. My emotions have been...all over the place. To put it kindly.
It's not just my children, it's a lot of other things. In the grand scheme of things, it's mostly facing the fact that my only two children are growing up that is causing me to be unable to sleep at night, but if I'm being honest, there are other things too. I don't blog much about the other things and some of the things I don't blog about at all, but sometimes I feel like I have to say these things exist so people don't sprain their eyes while rolling them at me for being so overly dramatic about things that everyone has to go through. Not that I care as much about what other people think anymore. Being forty has been very liberating for me.
A few nights ago I had a massive breakdown about a large variety of things. The biggest of these things is regret.
I have so, so, so many regrets.
I used to say that I regretted marrying my first husband, but didn't regret my kids. Recently, in a moment of reflection I realized I didn't regret marrying my first husband at all. Was he a good husband? No. Did I get the absolute right kids for me? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Forever yes.
I can't regret something that caused me to get exactly what I wanted, even if getting there was pretty excruciating at times. However, there are many things I do regret.
-I regret taking so long to get healthy. I regret eating my feelings instead of dealing with them. I regret setting a poor example for my children.
That's actually more than one thing, but it all kind of smooshes together in my mind.
I remember the doctor telling me what I weighed the day I gave birth. It was a huge number, much higher than I ever imagined. I has toxemia and I was pretty sure my weight would go way down after all the fluid went away.
It did. However, I spent many years self-medicating with chocolate and my highest weight (that I know of, I avoided scales for quite some time) was sixty pounds heavier than the number my doctor told me that day. SIXTY. Sixty pounds MORE than a day when I had two infants and pounds and pounds of fluid in my body. Let that sink in for a minute.
I'm angry at myself for not dealing with my life. I don't think weight is a moral issue in any way, I wasn't "bad" for being fat or whatever. I just think that for me that was the wrong path. I wasn't dealing with my life.
My children have had mixed reactions on this. My daughter is an amazingly balanced eater, even for an eighteen year old. She literally follows the 80/20 rule in her life, eating eighty percent good food and twenty percent crap. She works at a fast food restaurant known for their greasy (delicious) fried chicken and straight from Heaven biscuits and her meals while at work generally consist of a grilled chicken breast, green beans and...a biscuit. Just one.
My son on the other hand completely shuns sugar, bread, potatoes, pasta and generally everything else I shun. Won't drink anything except water. This would be totally fine if he wasn't eighteen, still growing, already six foot two and weighing in at a whopping 120lbs. With shoes on.
I'm glad he listens to me and respects my opinion, but I sometimes wish he'd do it about other things and not just food. Because, frankly, the boy needs some carbs.
I wish I had provided a more balanced example over the years.
-I wish I hadn't argued with my husband so much.
My husband and I are so ridiculously in love with each other that this seems silly. Now. Things weren't always this way. In fact, the first several years of marriage were...difficult. To say it kindly.
Two strong-headed people falling in love and getting married is really freaking hard. The only good thing I can say about that is that thankfully we were both super stubborn and hung in there because I really love being married to him now (and I've always, ALWAYS loved him). However, my kids have witnessed some very ugly fights between us and I really, really, REALLY regret that.
-I wish my social awkwardness hadn't prevented my children from having a tribe
Okay, honestly? All of us (except Jason who could have a fascinating conversation with a lamp post) are huge introverts. Being around people for long periods of time is actually exhausting for me. It's exhausting for my children too.
I'm one of those people who are better on paper than in real life. I'm backward. I'm awkward. I have trouble making friends. Clearly.
I think people like me once they get to know me, but honestly? I'm not that easy to get to know. My children have suffered because of this...because of my inability to make or keep friends. I don't feel like there are enough people in this world who have my children's back and it hurts my heart. Hard.
-I wish I hadn't worked so much
That's hard for me to type as honestly my entire life I've felt like working is a virtue to be admired. It is. Working and supporting your family is a good thing. I probably didn't need to take it to extremes.
-I wish I hadn't worried so much
Things are going to happen. They just are. We only have so much control. I've wasted so much time worrying about things that either happened or didn't. My worry had no effect on the outcomes.
I can't turn back time. Today with a clearer head, I realize and accept I can only move forward and try to navigate the beautifully different relationship I have with my two adult children. I can't beat myself up over the past and I can't have a re-do, no matter what.
Still. If you are reading this today and have more time? More vacations. More laughing. Less worry. Take care of yourself, love yourself. Take pictures of every bit of it and find your people.