As part of my trip to California last month, I spent some time in the East Bay with some very good friends. I love that area of San Francisco and am honestly working a plan to get myself out there on a more permanent basis; especially after the long, cold winter the eastern portion of the US was challenged with last year. This particular visit was the first time that I stayed with my friends and their two young children. Normally, I travel to San Francisco once or twice a year,
and my time is always split between the time spent with them and various other activities. Needless to say, I was excited to have this dedicated time with them.
I had forgotten what life is like with two young children; we were moving and shaking from sun up until bedtime each day and honestly, I couldn’t have been happier. Such fun to see the world through the eyes of little ones; to watch as the observer as they process situations, figure things out and test the boundaries. It also served as a reminder of how hard some of those days were for me when my boys were younger, especially as a single parent. At the same time, oh the joy, the wondrous joy of those days; days that left me both exhausted and happy. There was nothing better than crawling into bed at the end of the day to read stories to my boys, to celebrate their successes, and support them through the challenges of growing up.
This visit also reminded me of many times that I wish I had been more patient, more compassionate and more available for my children. Just days after I returned from my trip, a huge wave of grief hit me out of nowhere as I remembered a time, one of many, when I know I didn’t get it quite right as a parent. It made me so sad to remember it; it truly broke my heart. It was then that I realized for as much as I have healed and grown on my journey, there are still many fault lines in my heart.
It’s times like this, when a seismic shift occurs in my heart, that I realize how much healing I still need to work through relating to the current relationship with my children. This is not necessarily a bad thing; in fact it is not a bad thing at all. It is a challenging experience and one that leaves me uncomfortable and wrung out as I allow the feelings to wash over me. The other option I have, of course, is to push the feelings back down, to rationalize and justify my actions, or even to blame others for how the situations were played out. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t do my tender heart or me any good to pretend that I’m not feeling what I am feeling.
This acknowledgement of my feelings pertains to all aspects of my life. As challenging as it sometimes is, nothing good comes from the act of repressing our sadness, anger or pain and doing this will always result in more and deeper of the same. Ignoring it does not allow it to heal, does not save anyone’s feelings from being hurt nor does it allow for relationships to evolve and grow authentically. Given that my children have little to no interaction with me, at this time, I’m finding that the most challenging part of my healing process is my inability to share these moments with them.
While these memories are, I’m pretty sure, run of the mill mistakes that most parents make at one time or another, I have always tried to acknowledge and apologize for my part in situations that resulted in my children feeling hurt or angry. The last thing that I ever wanted was to create situations where my children felt misunderstood, not important or unloved; since that is farthest from the truth.
The good news is that I believe that it is never too late the circle back to someone who you may have hurt, even unintentionally, and tell them that you are sorry that your actions may have caused them pain. I know that someday, I will have the opportunity to share some of these moments with my boys and apologize for any hurt that I may have caused, unknowingly or unintentionally.
The time with my friends in California really helped me to see, even more clearly, what an amazing experience it was raising my boys. Even though we have had our ups and downs, it was a precious beautiful time for me. I love them with all my heart, and love them fiercely. And I am continuing to learn and grow as a parent still today. I feel that these challenges and moments of healing allow me the opportunity to become a better person, to be more loving, kind and compassionate to myself and to others. I look forward to one day sharing this part of me with them. While I wait, I continue to heal those fault lines in my heart.
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