Friday, April 11, 2008

Old Ghosts

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like if I hadn't walked down the path I did.  Would I be happy?  Would my kids still look the same?  Would I have had all the fertility problems?  Would I have NEVER had children from lack of opportunity?  Would depression have consumed me?

I come from a small town, a broken family, and a screwed up history.  I'm still trying hard to forgive my mother for all the verbal abuse, but now that I have kids, it's harder and harder for me to imagine doing that to my BABIES.  Sure, losing my temper and raising my voice I can comprehend.  Even spanking them out of anger.  But to look at them and tell them they're crazy or their BOYFRIEND deserves better than them?  Wow.  I dwell on those kinds of things much more than I should.  It's in the past.  Getting close to ancient history.  I should find a way to forgive her.

I've even forgiven my father, although I will never UNDERSTAND, why he walked away from me.  Just as I said above, now that I have kids, I have a new perspective.  I've opted to not tell my dad on the rare occasion I talk to him that he's a grandfather.  I second guess my decision a lot, mainly because I wonder if knowing his grandchildren might be the motivation he needs to change.  But for safety reasons, Hubby and I have mutually agreed to not tell him (that's why I don't mention my kiddos names).  I haven't spoken to him since I was pregnant with Punky.  He calls every year on my birthday and since that year three years ago, I've subscribed to caller ID and avoided his phone calls.  Mainly because I don't lie and I know he would ask me when I was going to have children.  But to my father's credit, he just stayed away when I was growing up.  I never had to deal with him and his problems, I never had to wonder why he didn't love me.  In his own way, I know he loves me, although he falls pathetically short of ever earning the title DAD.  Punky recently saw a family picture of us when I was about 8 months old and asked who he was.  Rickey, I told her.  That's all she needs to know.

So, do these things contribute to why I am the way I am?  Yes.  I think a lot about how our influence will make our children who they are.  It scares me to think about that, but I have to admit, I try to take those things and learn from them.  I try not to over compensate and I try hard to make sure my kids will NEVER feel the way I felt growing up.  I never want them to feel as alone as I felt or as burdensome.  Every time I turned around, I felt unwanted or I was yelled at for something stupid.  Then, when I got older and started having a life of my own, my mother started seeing that I was growing up and I didn't need her.  It made living with her so much worse and in turn, I did a lot of stupid things when I was a teenager that I will never be able to take back.  

Some of you say, well, don't all teenagers do stupid stuff?  Isn't that a right of passage?  Isn't that how they FIND themselves?  Not for me it wasn't.  It was rebellion from bad parenting.  It was the only escape I could find in a world filled with no one who REALLY loved me.  I took solace in boyfriends that never meant anything only because I knew they cared for me.  I took advantage of that and to this day I still feel bad.  The few I really cared for wound up trampling my heart and succeeding in hurting me more than my mother ever could.  But that's ancient history, right?

Yes, it is.  I married a good man.  I married a wonderful family whose irritatingly as perfect as any family has the right to be.  I have a mother now in my mother in law whose always there for me.  Not many people can say that about their mother in laws.  She has her flaws, but she's the best woman I know.  Hubby puts up with a LOT from me.  Mainly me dwelling on this stuff too much and not being able to get passed it, my low self esteem, lack of being able to express "happiness", etc.  After almost 7 years, this has all taken its toll on my marriage.  We, like any marriage, have our good days and our bad days, but it makes me wonder WHY he married me.  He knew how I was before we married.  He tells me jokingly that everyone makes mistakes.  But does he regret me?  Does he look at me and wish I were someone else who smiled a little more or felt a little better about herself or would actually pay up on the bet I lost and give him that strip tease?

I think about what it would be like to wake up next to someone else.  I don't wish for it, I couldn't imagine my life without Hubby.  I mainly think about it to make sure I stay humble and remember how wonderful he is to me because I KNOW even during our darkest times, it could have been so much worse.  I could have actually gone through with an elopement to a guy I spent three years with only to have found out later he was a child molester.  Or I could have gone though with my first real engagement and been married to an AWOL army soldier who could only be employed by the local Wal-Mart.  Let's not forget about the crazy EMT who still tries to track me down occasionally - I would probably be locked in his basement by now.  And there was the guy I was actually crazy about who now has no real job, acts like a kid and is still in with the wrong crowd doing the wrong things.  Where would I be then?  I certainly wouldn't have the contentment of financial stability, the pretty house I have, my children and their incredible smiles but most importantly the direction of a wonderful church family and friends that have been my lifeline for so long.  I have grown so much closer to God these years I've been away from home and have been able to see what a real life can be like.

My mother used to tell me (when she was feeling mushy) that she prayed for God to send me a man who would help me get to heaven.  He did.  Hubby and I have had many difficult years but through it all, we've shared our faith and our love for God and gotten through it.  I married Hubby for a lot of reasons, but the main one was because I knew he was a good man who was raised in a good family.  That family is the kind I want for us and our children.  We're getting there and I pray that I will not give Punky or Chicken (or #3) any of the hang ups I have or leave them with bitter memories of their upbringing.

And I pray, for each of them, that they can find a wonderful spouse who will complement them, understand them and aid them in their journey to heaven...

Just like I did.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Ok, first of all you give me waaaay too much credit, but thank you anyway.

I've never had to stop and think about why I married you -it was because of your heart. I knew from very early on that underneath all that inner turmoil you had such a tender heart and huge capacity for compassion and kindness. I just couldn't let that get away even though I knew the road would be bumpy. Hindsight is 20/20... and I still think it was worth it.