I’ve been extremely lucky in the parent department. Two people who were 19 years old certainly didn’t face great odds in 1972 when they found out they were pregnant. And despite all the things that should’ve gone wrong….some things went right. And Gary & Karen made it. And they had me and married and 5 and 7 years later had a few other rugrats. I grew up in very close proximity to my two sets of grandparents. We all lived in C-Town. I cannot think of a better childhood than the one I had. I am so acutely aware of how lucky I am. My parents stayed married. My grandparents stayed married. I wanted for nothing. There was never abuse or addiction or neglect or anything bad. My parents were not perfect. None are. But they were darn close.
In the course of a divorce there are so many feelings I can’t even begin to explain. A LOT of you know. Some of you don’t. I wouldn’t wish divorce on ANYONE. EVER. It fucking sucks. Shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, sadness, worry, stress, disappointment….among a million other feelings have encompassed me in the past 2 years. And being such a public person and not sharing my journey was weird. But I chose to remain private about it. Out of respect for everyone involved. And I cannot say enough what a great person Patrick is. And a great Dad. I hit the lottery there too. And perhaps in the midst of all of the “falling apart” I felt so shameful I didn’t want to talk about it. Speaking about it made it real. Very few people knew what was actually happening. I shut out a lot of people. Including my Mom. I regret that.
My Mom is pretty amazing. The love of her life died at the age of 53. After 33 years together. And she held it together better than most would. I would be lying if I said I had the perfect relationship with my Mom. It was tense in High School. It was tense recently. I am horrible at calling people. I hate the phone. HATE. So I don’t return phone calls and I don’t stay in touch like I should and I am not the best daughter. My sister, Kelly, gets that award. Rightfully so.
Sometimes the people we are closest to are the ones we hurt the most. Because we feel comfortable being an asshole to them. We know they HAVE to love us and forgive us. I cannot say I would go back and do the divorce differently. As my second Mom, Lynda, often said “don’t be shoulda on yourself”. Meaning- don’t look back with regret. You did the very best you could at that moment with what you had. Maybe I wouldn’t have shut people out. But its the only way I knew to survive. Admitting you failed at a marriage is fucking horrible. Its shameful. It feels awful, And there’s nothing anyone could ever say to you to make you feel worse than you already do. And traveling alone was all I knew to do.
Becoming a Mom was the best thing that ever EVER happened to me. I had so very many miscarriages that I never thought Id be able to be a Mom. So Im grateful. Beyond words. And grateful I had children with the man I did. I, like most Moms probably, beat myself up daily for not being a better Mom. For making mistakes. Cussing too much. Laughing at dick jokes they make. Blaring mysoginistic rap music. Forgetting to pick them up. Not making cookies. Not “looking my age”. But more than any of that I regret that I took a family from them. My heart is broken for that. It will never mend. It will never be ok. I will always and forever feel like I failed a little as a Mom. The decisions I made to end a marriage (a long time ago) took YEARS to make and I hurt and struggled and ached over what to do. Nothing about it was easy.
I shut out my sister and my Mom and those closest to me during a very difficult time. And for that I apologize. I wish I could fix a lot of things. I wish I could take back some things I said. I wish I was a better human sometimes. I make mistakes. I am so unbelievably grateful for my grandmothers, my Mom and my sister. There have never been 4 better Moms. Never. I come from a strong line of women. Who feel deeply and think too much and come across as brick houses but have hearts of butter. I literally almost cry every time I look at my daughter. Every time. I know she makes fun of me for it. But there is no love like that for a child. It has taken me 45 years to realize its ok to be me. To be happy. To be the kind of Mom I am. Its ok. And I hope and pray and wish for my girl that she will be her own kind of woman someday. And her own kind of Mom if she chooses to be one.
I cant promise I wont feel guilt any longer or regret or shame. Im human. I can almost guarantee it. I can guarantee Ill fuck up on occasion. I can hope, though, with all Ive been through….that I can forgive myself. That I can apologize. That I can be ok with being me. Learning to forgive myself has proven to be one of the hardest things Ive had to do. Here’s to all the Moms. The ones who do it right. The ones who do it “wrong”. The ones who struggle. The ones who cuss. The ones who knew the moment that first child was born that their hearts no longer belonged to themselves. May you love and forgive yourself. And live. LIVE.