Life is just a series of events, both unfortunate and remarkably notable. There are many paths from which to choose. If I decided 20 years ago not to take that job at Starbucks to help pay for my college expenses, some defining moments would not have revealed themselves which determined the circumstances of my life.
So does everything really happen for a reason? Are decisions really bound to destiny? Is there such a thing as destiny? Or is it all just coincidence? Throwing your hands up in the air and saying “I guess it was meant to be” is a comforting crutch we use to explain why something didn’t turn out as we had hoped. Something which we cannot conclude sense. On occasion, I will look back at all of my choices, something as simple as deciding to engage in a conversation with a new person, or as serious as leaving the house 10 minutes later than usual only to find out I escaped a horrible accident. I am sure we have all pondered what year or time frame we could go back to and start over. Some of you have already been through this game in your mind, and have come to realize you wouldn’t change a thing. It is our mistakes and what we have accomplished and how many times we fell and got back up that determine who we are right at this moment. That is a tough thing to see at the time. Sometimes, I wish I could go back to 1998 and erase my memory and begin again. Wouldn’t it be great to have one do-over?
If I could go back and take that do-over, I would never have had my wonderful kids, now 9 and 11 (I would absolutely take the do over if not for them) Even their father, whom I call the sperm donor with sarcastic indifference, caused me years of pain and frustration. I would immediately take all that back. Why would anyone choose a failed marriage? I didn’t choose it. At least I don’t believe I did. Some ignorant people will say “Why didn’t she just leave?” It’s not that easy. In fact, it’s one the hardest and scariest things a woman can do.
Well, I can’t undo the marriage, because I would be erasing my kids. Despite what they have been through, they are the most amazing children. I may be partially biased, but they are affectionate, caring, aware of others, and grateful. I am blessed beyond words. Sometimes this leads me to think I don’t deserve them. Parents who make $100,000 a year and live in a big house with a yard and send their kids to private schools, those are the parents who deserve great kids. Right? Someone like me deserves a child with some kind of defect, or behavioral issues due to an unstable home life. I disagree adamantly. From my observations, the kind of parents I described above have spoiled, ungrateful, entitled, and often rude children. Parents such as myself raise kids to be grateful for what they have. They may have seen or heard things most kids their age have not been exposed to. My daughter is wise beyond her years. She holds herself well and is strong minded. She doesn’t hesitate to defend her little brother on the bus. She is the opposite of me as a child. I was so shy and scared, I could hardly make it through the day. She gets A’s in school and reads a book every 2 days, not because she has to but because she wants to.
My intent is not to brag about my children, I am just making the point that without the the choices I made along the way, often being led blindly down paths which were unfamiliar to me, I would not have had these 2 amazing children as a result. If their dad wouldn’t have tracked me down at Starbucks that night, I would have gone down a different path. I had my future planned out. In fact I was just starting the coarse. I was standing at the fork in the road when he came along. I had just graduated from college with a BA. I also worked at a law firm. My goal was to decide which branch of the criminal justice system suited me so I could take the next step. My mother told him where to find me. He had just broken up with his girlfriend, mother of his 3 year old. He offered to give me a ride home that night. We had been friends for years. Just friends. Once I stepped foot in that red fire bird, the fork in the road changed into a one way street. And I couldn’t exit until 4 years ago. That’s 16 years of crazy ups and downs. Just plain insanity with the exception of my children.
So, no, I wouldn’t take any of it back. I wouldn’t accept the do over. I’ll admit, I have some resentments about the career I missed out on. I have always taken responsibility for my actions, but I do resent him for that one. I’ve tried reasoning with myself not to blame him, but I repeatedly go back feeling resentful and angry. That’s a huge thing, a career. For reasons I don’t need to specify now although I am sure I have written them before, I cannot get a job without my past haunting me. I think that’s fair reasoning to be a little peeved.
This brings me to my point. What can I do? What can you do? Nothing. Let’s make the best of what we have left, then look around and appreciate what we have gained. Sometimes we don’t even notice the good because we are so fixated on the negative. I do that too, and need to remind myself to soak up all the good things I have acquired.
The kids and I have gained a loving family because I finally met the person I didn’t know I had been waiting for. The 4 of us moved out of the apartment where mountains of bad memories were formed…That’s a ‘fork in the road’ story on its own… life changing events transpiring beyond our control that led to us move. Now that seems like it happened for a reason. It’s a crazy feeling when you’re my age and realize you waited your whole life to feel like everything finally fits.
I have been through a lot in my life. Since childhood, I have been suppressing very intense and painful emotions. There’s a lot more to unravel and sift through. I wonder sometimes how I endured all that pain, physical and emotional. Although I know that our brain works in a way to protect us during times of duress, I have desperately wished for that do ever because the pain I felt seemed too much bear. But I am still here. Stronger. Wiser. Better. I do not regret my choices.