I must confess; I have been increasingly aware of my tendency on these pages to wallow in self-pity. Please, please believe me when I tell you that this is NOT my usual style! I am a very positive person in real life. Honest. I am!
But as I have read over my posts since I began this interesting experiment in self-expression, I realize that I seem to be reveling in my own pain. I have had comments from other women, women who are perhaps more mentally healthy than I am, and these comments have forced me to take a close look at my outpourings of self-pity and angst. One woman wrote: “You write about loss, but you haven’t lost your children. Only a woman who has buried a child can know that pain.” And she is so right! I think about children who truly were lost this year, and I know that I am nowhere near the agony that those mothers feel every day. And another woman wrote, “I choose not to focus on what has gone out of my life; I choose to be positive, to focus on what is good!” I admire her, and I want to imitate her resolve.
And so I took the words of these fellow travelers to heart; I resolved to look on the bright side, to focus on the many, many joys and blessings in my life. I vowed to cheer my children on, and to celebrate each step they take into the future. I resolved; I vowed; I tried. I really did.
But there is a glitch in my plans, an unexpected struggle. For it seems that everywhere I turn, some piece of my Mommy past rears up to ambush me, to pull me back from my new found, determined optimism.
For example, I went to the grocery store, for an innocent visit to grab some supplies for Paul and I to get us through the week. I was firmly focused on the quart of milk, one loaf of bread and half pound of sliced turkey. But there they were, right in front of me; how could I not look, and smile and sigh? They are a young, and beautiful family; they shop together every week. I have observed them since the days when she walked awkwardly through her first pregnancy. I welcomed their first baby, a bright and smiling boy. On and off, for the past 6 or 7 years, I have met them at Hannaford’s, looking over the fruit, or the bread, or the ice cream bars. I have chatted first with the little boy, and then with his baby sister. And here they were, laughing and joking together, on this one day when I was determined to keep my eyes focused on my future, and my smile planted on my face. I greeted them, we swapped stories of Thanksgiving; I admired the cookies that the little one had added to their cart, and we went our separate ways. They had two happy golden children, safely settled in their cart with the juice and the cereal. I pushed my nearly empty carriage over to the packages of two chicken breasts.
I finished my shopping, paid with a smile, and loaded the three bags into my back seat. And in spite of my most fervent resolve, and my honest determination to recognize my many blessings, I drove home with tears on my cheeks, and the familiar aching in my heart.
I’m trying. Please believe me, I am trying with every ounce of my being, and every cell in my body. I am trying to let go, to move on, to smile my way through my latest transition. I do not choose to wallow. I wake up each day, more determined than I was the day before that this will be the start of my turning the page and walking into the bright light of my future.
But then I hear a child’s cry, or smell the scent of baby powder, or watch a young mother as she walks hand in hand with her awkward toddler, and I am ambushed once again, and sent back to the sadness that seems to welcome me.