Sitting at my desk on a very hectic Monday, fast and furiously typing emails, my cell phone lights up and a text appears from a girlfriend, You’ve been pretty quiet this weekend are you OK? Still typing, I smile realizing that she is referring to my social media inactivity, happy that someone is checking on me. Funny how we notice a friend’s absence from Facebook or Instagram, wondering if they have dropped off the planet. No photographs to mark the day’s events, no pictures of amazing food or trendy cocktails. More than a few times I’ve sent private messages to friends, asking Hey, where are you?? What’s up? You OK? I am always relieved to receive a quick response, All good, just busy. But every now and then a quiet, slow response emerges, the little voice that tells me privately, I’m having a rough time, lying low, can we meet up? Today I am that person.
After two consecutive weekends of truly beautiful wedding celebrations, my social media exploded with pictures of wedded bliss, and then all was quiet. True, I was pretty pooped, and needing desperately to catch up on my sleep, but the celebration high was followed by feeling a tiny bit low. The happiness I felt for these two accomplished young women and their families was heartfelt and at times overwhelming as I cried throughout the ceremonies, from the I do’s to Dads toasting their little girls with beautiful words of love, praise and admiration, I felt only gratitude as a witness to such joy.
Late in the day, I received a second text from my girlfriend, Hi you doing OK? Worried. Realizing I had never responded to the first message, I send a quick text, I’ve been swamped, more later xox. I did have some odd lingering feelings and I knew if I got a message off to her I would feel much better. We share a similar story, something that links our hearts. We can express our feelings without judgement on this particular topic; we are each other’s safe zone. Later in the evening, I send her a private message, more comfortable writing what is in my heart than saying the words out loud. I tell her that I loved the weddings. I had a great time, genuinely happy for my friends, thrilled to share their joy, but a bit envious that everyone is so fucking happy.
Writing these words I feel bitter, whiny and ungrateful. In this moment, I want to be in their shoes. I want to shine in the light of my children’s happiness and share it with all my friends, but this is not my life right now. For now, when asked about my children, I smile and say things like, he’s making progress, I think he’s better, or I think this is best for her and she’s going to be alright. I pray for their happiness and tell the Universe I trust the bigger plan for them, when really I just want the Universe to get its shit together and make it happen now. Damn it, their fate is out of my hands.
While in my heart, I know I did the best I could, my default mode is to blame myself, and my brain tells me I could have done a better job. I rehash my parenting, my choices along the way, and feel sure that somehow I could have protected my kids, prevented their heartache. I should have provided a better foundation from which they could build a better, happier life. My girlfriend tells me she understands exactly how I feel and immediately all is right in my world. She reminds that nobody has a perfect life, It’s impossible, she says. I am finished whining, and I have to agree.
My kids are great people with good hearts, compassionate and caring. They never miss an opportunity to tell me they love me, or thank me for being a good mom. This should be what matters most to me; these words alone should fill me with happiness.
I have always said my ego was wrapped up in being a mom. I wanted my kids to be perfect so that I appeared perfect. I wanted them to make choices that were important to me, choices that looked good so that I would be judged favorably. Funny . . . . as much as I tried to prevent it, like me, each of my kids, in their own way, made choices leading them down a tougher path. And while I want desperately to clear the way for them, it would be unfair for me to rob them of the lessons learned along the way, the feelings of accomplishment and pride as they blaze their own trail.
Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. I will never find mine, if I keep expecting it to look like someone else’s.
Thanks girlfriend for crawling in the hole with me for a few minutes and giving me the boost I needed to climb back out again. You know who you are. 🙂
ps . . . dear friends, please keep inviting me to weddings . . . i love you