Posted on | February 19, 2013 | 10 Comments
When I crawled out of bed, you were still sleeping, lashes flush across your cheeks and one arm thrown out across the bed as if you were claiming all of it as your own. I was as silent as possible, slipping into the cold hallway, and gently closing the door behind me; you needed your sleep. Once the coffee was made and I was curled and tucked feet over ankle onto the sofa, I pulled out my computer and skimmed the words I wrote yesterday. My yearning felt palpable in the cool morning, the feeling of not quite being who or what I wanted to be, the feeling of needing to feel more, be more, have more. I drew in a deep sigh and clicked down the lid, shutting out the memories.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life.
I’ve loved and lost and loved and lost and loved again until I thought my heart would explode. I’ve loved in secret, I’ve loved too loudly… I’ve loved the wrong and right sorts of men for the better part of twenty some odd years, if you discount elementary school … and I do. I spent the better part of high school loving a boy who would never love me back. I spent the better part of college and part of law school doing the same. I fell in love with the first man who loved me and married the second.
I’ve spent too many nights drinking, too many years smoking cigarettes (don’t do that. Trust me.), too many nights in tears over this or that friend or this or that experience. I’ve lost friends to drunk driving, to cancer, and to pride both theirs and mine. I’ve woken up in places I should have never been, gone to sleep in places I should have never visited, and dated boys who should have never known my name…. and hell, they may not have. (don’t do that either, please.)
I’m not perfect…. I’m so very, very far from perfect.
And yesterday, I felt the weight of my imperfections pounding down around my ears. I remembered the fun I used to have, the life I used to live. I wanted to run back to high school or college, or the years I spent in Orlando… wanted to run far away from the person I’m becoming… this responsible adult who pays the bills “on time” (mostly), and who goes to bed at a reasonable hour unless there’s a late ball game on or I stay up to watch Castle or Downton Abbey. I look at the wrinkles across my hands, the faint scar across my abdomen, the stretch marks across the lower half of my body and I wonder when this all happened. I wonder if all that’s left for me is to just keep getting older and farther away from the person I wanted to be not so very long ago.
This morning, life, all of it, felt like it was slipping away with no purpose… with no rhyme or reason.
Then, just after I poured my second cup of coffee, I heard the door creak open and the slapping of your feet in the hallway. You rounded the corner into the living room and stood there for a moment, rubbing your eyes with your hair crooked and curled in too many directions. Then you smiled your perfect gaping smile and your steps quickened until you threw yourself at me and tucked into the curve of my side, your head resting against my shoulder. I kissed the top of your curls and in that moment, everything shifted and turned and churned and then righted itself.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I know I have many more to make. I have done careless and foolish and hurtful things but I’ve also done amazing and beautiful and wonderful things.
And if it took smoking cigarettes and loving until my heart wanted to shatter all the wrong sorts of people? If it took losing friends and losing sight of myself over and over and over again? That’s okay. Because all those mistakes, every single one of them, weave through the fabric of who I am today. They pulse in and around me, reminding me that of all the people I’ve been in my life, this is the one I most needed to be. Who I am today is the best and most amazing version of me that I could ever be.
Who I am today is your mother.
When you get older and you wonder why I’m so hard on you, wonder why I think I have all the answers and all the truths… when you feel like I will never, ever, EVER understand what it’s like to be young or carefree… when you wonder if I even love you at all because (horror) I won’t let you have the car or drink beer or go to the beach with your friends… remember this truth: I have made mistakes in my life and I will make many more as I navigate this single parenting gig. But you, my wonderful boy? Who you are is 100% not one of them and never will be. Even when it hurts you or me or both of us, every decision I make now is born out of my love for you… even the ones you “know” are wrong. So be patient with me, as I am with you. Because we will both make many mistakes before we leave.
But the realest truth I’ve ever known of MY life is simply this: if it took every second of hurt that I’ve experienced in my life to bring me to the point where I get the privilege of being your mother, of making these decisions… right and wrong?
Then, yes. It was, and is, all so very, very worth it.