I admit it, some 40 year old R&R’s have been eating a hole in my heart. In my gut too, truth be told. Both the resentments and the regrets involve my now middle-aged children, and they both prominently feature the word, “SHOULD.” They packed quite the emotional wallop; family dramas often do I suppose.
Things in my life just haven’t turned out the way I was taught to expect they “should,” and I have carried both shame (me) and blame (someone else) around these issues for years.
As I started writing my story in preparation for the book, I set my intention to see things in my life in a new way, and that is what is happening, though I couldn’t have imagined what I couldn’t have imagined. Be careful what you ask for, they say. Things have come up for healing that have been festering below my awareness for years, and I have had to be honest with myself in a whole new way.
I have shared before that during my deepest depressions, I thought I was taking care of my responsibilities as a parent, but I could not. My oldest boy had no mom to really talk with when he needed me, he was too much like me and I didn’t know what to say, and, at a different time, I shared too much of my sadness with my younger boy, who felt he had to take care of my feelings. Those are realizations in hindsight, at the time things were happening I was just trying to make it through every day.
They lived with their dad and stepmother during their teen years, and still live in the same community where their dad lives, so they see them often. Their stepmom had never been able to have children herself…I think you can see where this is going.
She had so much more to offer them than I did. She made a lot of money then when I had very little, she had a great extended family to surround my kids with love and advantages while I was a single mother who couldn’t be there when my kids came home from school. And most importantly, she wasn’t depressed, quite the opposite. Our personalities are VERY different, where I am an introvert, she is in sales and an extrovert. The boys/men held me at arms length for years for different reasons and we all suffered pain.
The thing is these “boys” are in their forties now, and we are finally rebuilding our relationships. I am most grateful and of course I am not the “mess in distress” I was when they were younger. So it’s time to let go of both the resentments and the regrets of the past and I am ready – I was just not expecting the pain that came up first.
I’m done with shame. I am done with blame. What happened inevitably happened, and it made us all the people we are today. If other things had happened, we would have had other issues to work through, because life is like that for everyone. None of us are bad people. In fact, we are all pretty great people, if I do say so myself.
Time to remember the Serenity Prayer. It always helps to put things in place. And talk about something falling outside of the range of things I can change! The PAST is done, I can only change my attitude about it. I have known for years to accept things I can’t change, I just never put all of this into THAT basket.
Acceptance, once again, for the second time in my life is the life-saving key to restore my sanity. The first time I was dealing with my relationship with my mother and with several husbands. I learned that once I had truly accepted them, with their stories, I didn’t even have forgiveness work to do. It was just “done.”
Now I am dealing with accepting ME. This gift of self-love benefits everyone, and like magic, our relationships are mellowing and deepening, the one thing I wanted more than anything while I was holding all the R&R’s and feeling like an outsider in their lives, but could not create.
I feel free now. I feel at peace. I have nothing to prove. I am so grateful for these insights and for the Guidance from Above that helped me these past weeks.