Whenever life takes a nasty turn I try to ask myself how did I contribute toward it? Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither a victim nor am I (any longer) the over responsible person who must blame themselves for everything. I just know that in order to change the route you must be aware of the place you came off the road, onto the bumpy dirt path, that led you into the swampy ditch. Then you can drag your muddy ass up out of the hole you find yourself in and never take that road again. This doesn’t happen if you don’t take responsibility for that first (or the second) wrong turn and learn from it.
The question is what do you do when you are watching someone else heading for the ditch and you can tell the hole they will be in might just swallow them up and they have no idea where they got off the road? You might think to jump in, waving your hands and screaming, “Save yourself” or “Watch out ahead.” Maybe you even throw yourself in the ditch a few times so they can step over your back avoiding most of the mud. But then how will they ever learn to change the route?
Sometimes, as painful and dangerous as it feels, the only answer is to let go and detach with love, standing to the side while letting your heart fly from your chest, into the ditch, and hope that somehow all the love you have in it will provide the strength to that lost soul to get back on the road that leads somewhere better.
The three things I cannot change are the past, the truth and you.
I’ve alluded to the last year as being one of growth, and seldom is there growth without pain, I’m sorry to say. The skill of finding the lesson in the event is what, I believe, separates those that sink from those that swim, pull themselves up on to the shore, and then write a book about the experience. Watching one of my own as they struggled and continue to struggle with addiction, because really all you can do is watch no matter how much you want to help, has shown me that I’ve raised a swimmer. It doesn’t hurt to have a few people on the shore with a life raft cheering you on either, I suppose.
Keep swimming baby. I’m treading water right alongside you.
“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” -Linda Poindexter
I think it’s time for me to be more child-like. I’m tired of being adult about everything.
I was on the beach yesterday watching a family with small children. One curly-haired, blue-eyed, cherub of a girl complete with a yellow bikini making a sand cake for her mother and her slightly older, more serious looking, brother in his boxer bathing suit with small blue whales on them eating a juicy peach and singing a song I don’t recognize. They are adorable, sweet, angelic…oh wait he’s ripping the shovel out of her hand and screaming, “MINE”, she has her mouth open but no sound is coming out, she’s standing up, still no sound…wait for it, wait for it…WOW. She lets out one blood- curdling scream and falls backwards into the sand. Her brother looks on, unfazed, and then continues digging the hole he had been neglecting while eating his lunch. She screams some more and her parents, clearly embarrassed but not unfamiliar with the theatrics, try to quiet her. “Don’t be a baby”, Dad says, while her brother is completely absorbed in digging and singing.
Oh please, let her scream I want to say. How I wish I could do that. Just once. Like say when the guy stole my parking spot or when the woman on the cell phone cut in front of me in line like I wasn’t even there.
Right down on the ground screaming. Can you imagine?
I think we could learn a thing or two about feeling our emotions without apologizing or holding them in from children. How do we get so repressed? Of course throwing yourself down and wailing isn’t the answer but maybe more honesty in our emotions is still an option.
“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.”― Jenny O’Connell, The Book of Luke
Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone
Occasionally, I’m sure all parents think what it would be like to be free of responsibility. To be able to do as you please, eat without seeing if anyone else is hungry, turn ‘your’ music up loud and dance around the room without embarrassing anyone, or just be quiet and not answer a question for ten minutes. I’m sure all of that can’t compare to the feeling of your huge almost 17 year-old son walking up from behind you and in front of his friends, giving you a hug and saying, “love you Mom.” Then I remember why I spent all those years sleepless and changing diapers.
It was worth it.