I've been thinking about regrets a lot lately. Not about Jim and me. No way. He knew that he was seriously loved and adored ...... as did I. I have no regrets about us and our marriage, other than it wasn't long enough ..... not by a long shot.
This past weekend was our youngest child's (Son #3) Confirmation. This was our first Confirmation without Jim. I had been dreading it for a while, as had Son #3, I think.
It was a very difficult .... and yet good, day.
Many tears were shed. And not just by me.
But in preparing for this weekend I've been pondering the mother that I have become in my "after". I am a totally different mother than I was in my "before". And I regret that.
My older kids are in college and so were really mostly raised when Jim died. Our youngest was 13, now 14. He had one mother for 13 years ..... and now he has a different one.
I have changed in many ways. Some ways are for the better ..... some are not.
I regret that he rarely has a home-cooked meal because I could care less about cooking now (as can he). Actually, I could care less about eating ..... and have to sometimes remind myself that I haven't eaten all day and it would really be best if I did.
Jim was a great eater and was always thankful for whatever I made for dinner ..... even if was soup and sandwiches. My children, a couple in particular, have not been so laid back.
Son #3 is a picky eater.
My enjoyment of cooking waned over the years .... and I totally blame my 6 kids. Can I tell you what a hassle it is to come up with a new recipe, and then have to double it for 8 people, only to have just 2 people like it? That's a lot of wasted food.
And a huge drain for the joy of cooking.
But, if Jim were still alive, I would still be cooking.
But he's not ...... and I am not.
And so .... in my eyes ..... I am a bad mom.
I know, with my brain, that I am here in other ways for Son #3, but my heart is mourning the person that I was ..... "before". And it mourns the mom I was ..... "before".
I have no doubt that I am a more patient and compassionate mother now. I tend to let the small things slide a whole lot more than I did "before". I'm not sure if it's because I know they don't matter so much ..... or if it's just that I don't have the energy I had 16 months ago. Probably a combination of both.
Yes, I went to every football game this year, and yes .... I went to every track meet. So that was good.
Why is it so hard for us to see the good and claim it? We so often see one bad thing (like not cooking) and then label ourselves with that one item.
I wonder .... is that more of a female thing ---- or do we all do that?
So .... I have a few regrets. But I also know that, while Son #3 has lost out in some ways by losing his "before mom" ...... he has also gained in having his "after mom".
This mom knows what's important now. And more importantly .... what isn't.
She knows that life is fragile ..... and that time spent with someone is a precious thing.
She knows that you can never say, nor hear, "I love you" too many times.
She knows that time spent with someone is never wasted.
She knows that when something, or someone, catches your attention ...... you stop and look into it. You investigate and spend some energy and time figuring out why that thing/or person, has caught your attention.
She knows that you can never have too many friends, or too much love, in your life.
So yes .... I regret the loss of the "before mom" .... but I also am proud of the "after mom" .... and all that she has learned in the last 16 months.
So maybe .... just maybe ..... my regrets do not outweigh my thankfulness.
And that, my friends ...... is something.
(This is Daughter #2, Son #1, Son #3, me and Daughter #3, this past Sunday on Son #3's Confirmation Day.)