There are few things in my life that I wish I could do better than what I am about to share with you.
Let’s all take a little trip to the apartment shared by my mom, sister and I. Oh, and that precious little dog Bandy. We were all better people for having been lucky enough to be part of his pack.
Remember that couch nestled between the two bedrooms? For whatever reason, that comfy sofa is where I chose to sleep for most of my time there.
Stuart and I got married on May 15, 1993. We bought a little house in Willis on two acres and dubbed it, “The Love Shack.” Precious little house with a tin roof. I didn’t have many personal belongings to move to Willis. What I didn’t take with me haunts me to this day.
When I moved out, my mother fell apart. Years ago, my sister told me that it wasn’t the same when I left. I wasn’t there, sleeping on the couch holding everything together. My mom didn’t handle my move well or at all for that matter. This would be the season of her life when she began to unravel. Actually, I feel like she was unraveling most of my childhood but I didn’t see it then. She attempted suicide multiple times over the next few years. My mother still had a teenage daughter under her roof that needed her but she could not see past her own unhappiness. I am not at liberty to share the situations that my sister dealt with at such a young age, those are her story to tell.
The thing that I wish I could go back and do better is caring for Stacy. I should have scooped her up and rescued her. At sixteen, she was raising herself. Again, her story and I couldn’t do it justice.
I have tried to sugar coat my neglect in my heart by reminding myself that I was in the middle of a storm of sorts. I was nineteen fixing to have a kid, how would I take care of her also? Stuart and I had battles of our own to fight. There is no excuse. I should have assumed the role our mom did not.
I’ve watched my sister struggle so much throughout her life but she manages to pick herself back up. Again, her story.
I feel had I taken her with me, her life might have been a little easier.
We hear time and time again that it isn’t responsible to blame our parents for our happiness in our adult life or the decisions that we make. Truth be known it is hard to get past it. I spent the first 24 years of my marriage harboring anger towards a mentally ill mother. That anger eats at your soul. I am not here to preach. Only to say that the only way I got through it and on the other side of the anger was to forgive. This forgiveness did not come through me. I prayed and prayed for God to help me forgive. Every time I got angry I would pray again, “God help me forgive her. I can’t have this anger in my heart anymore.”
I’m not going to lie and say I don’t still hurt. I still get angry, a lot. It seems like those feelings eek in when I need a mother most. When I was pregnant. When I was having brain surgeries one, two and three. When my kids were born. When my daughter got married. And that folks, is just a few of the scenarios. The absence of a mother during moments like that still break my heart. I guess my take away is to better than that. Not in a competitive way but in a way that my kids will know that I am always here. That I love them unconditionally.
I have made so many mistakes as a parent. I hope they forgive me and know that I am doing the best I can. As I type those words, doing the best I can, I have to hope that my mom was giving it her all. Doing the best she could….
“Forgiveness is a gift that we give ourselves.” Tony Robbins