Sunday, my first born turned seventeen.
As I normally do, every year, on each of my daughters' birthdays, I chronicled the day. This is when I woke up, this is when my water broke, this is when bla bla bla bla. By the end of the day I said, "By this time you were in the NICU, I wouldn't get to meet you until the next day." To which my daughter responded, "So, shouldn't you not talk to me until tomorrow then?"
That's my girl.
To anyone who doesn't know, sarcasm takes a front row at our house. Always. I keep telling her, "One day, when you have babies you'll get all smooshy. And I'll be there and welcome you to the Sappy Mama's Club."
She had a party, so to speak, for her seventeenth birthday, on Saturday. Movies, a pasta dinner just for her, cake, ice cream and a sleepover. It was fun, and I was involved it the whole thing. Never was I asked, "God mom! Can you leave us alone!?" Never did they even lock themselves away in her room.
Yesterday, Monday, she texted me. "So, I'm in English...and we had to answer some questions "What Makes You Want To Break Free From Your Parent's Authority?" and "How Does Your Family Embarrass You?" I answered that I didn't really feel rebellious towards rules or whatever and that we're all a bunch of dorks and I love it. Everyone else is like "OMG my mom " this or "my dad that". And I wanted to tell you that I love you and appreciate you."
Well, that just did it for me. It took me a minute to text her back, I couldn't see my keys from the tears swelling up in my eyes. Then a calm came over me. Time and time again I get knocked back by my children. In a good way.
Growing up, I never hugged my mother. Well, not without prompting I should say. It was a 'polite' thing to do. Nor do I remember telling her all about my day..be it in Elementary, Middle or High School. Nor do I ever remember wanting to hang out with her. With that said, the idea of telling her that I appreciated her was never a thought in my mind. It wasn't that I didn't appreciate her, its that I never had that kind of relationship with her. With her I was always judged - did I have my hair done, make up on, dressed nice enough, thin enough? Am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? Am I appearing lazy? BLAH.
So for my seventeen year old daughter to realize how much her friends complain about their parents to see that she has none really...then take it upon herself to tell me so...well that's just awesome.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get sad because of the way their lives have gone. It could have been SO different had their father and I not divorced. So many opportunities were taken from them. I feel all I've ever been able to offer them were hard times, tight budgets and my stress radiating off me like a nuclear plant on the verge of implosion. Then comes the guilt. And then the tears. It weighs on my heart very heavy.
*I feel I must include this - because far too often people think that when the above is said, surely I must want my ex-husband back. No...no I don't. But you know what? For the happiness of my children - I would have made that loser stay in a marriage whether he was happy or not. I would bear the brunt of his infidelities and lack of respect in order for my kids to have the opportunities that is allowed to his son now.
Believe me, I know life's not all about the monetary things and what they have versus what they know. I get it. I really do. But when my girls say they would LOVE to go to Disney World and have fun...just once...it kills me. I'd LOVE to be able to scoop those girls up and head out for a week at Disney World. A week of FUN! Things like that, just make me sad. Oh, they've been to Disney. Years ago. With their father. I'll quote my oldest when she said this just this past weekend, "I'd love to go and have fun. Not get 'grounded' from rides because I miss you or don't want to ride the scary rides." They called me from that trip, and cried to come home....from the Happiest Place on Earth.
Crush, twist, pop and break. That's my heart. God, I love my babies and how I want everything in the world for them. And you know what? They tell me they have enough. Again, crush....
Here I am. Forty years old. Half my life behind me (well, probably more than half at this point) and I feel like yelling, "WAIT!!! Where did the time go?!?! I'm not ready yet!!!"
Things have happened to me - very personal things at the hands of someone else. No one asked if I was done having babies. But it was decided for me. I carry that around like a person kick in the gut.
I don't talk to my family. The only thing that allowed that to happen is the stubbornness of a mother. It's not worth it to lie and manipulate. And it's not worth it for me to give more and more and bend over backwards to appease that woman just so she can feel less guilty. I've spent my life doing that. But standing my ground has meant to let them all go. My circle has shrunk and I only allow very few in. The space is taken by my husband and my daughters, for the most part.
In the blink of an eye, my babies have crawled, walked, ran and turned into these individuals. I wasn't ready for that! I feel like I was so busy working to make ends meet and trying to find myself that I never took the time to stop and just enjoy them. But I did. I know I did. It still wasn't enough, not for me. And, at the same time I feel like I've never been able to be who I always wanted to be. Never enough time. Not even now.
One day I'll get to rest. And just 'be'. But by that time, I'll be dead.