I think of all the things that I have put off over time.I can’t help but wonder is it ever too late? I sit here writing this and all I can think about is all the homework I should be doing for my master’s class. Come Wednesday, I will be in complete panic mode and by Sunday, unbearable. This is just what I do. I think that I have just adjusted my life to this pattern and I hate it! I absolutely hate it! I just get so overwhelmed that I feel stuck. It truly is a sick feeling that sits in your soul like bad Chinese food on Christmas.
I don’t know why I chose that analogy, I’ve never had Chinese on Christmas, but a lot of people do so I hope they can relate. Recently, my grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer and she is now going through chemo and radiation. It sucks, cancer sucks, asking yourself, ” is it ever too late” sucks. The answer is YES. Yes, it can be too late. She was a 1/2 pack a day smoker for 45 years, quit in 1990. For her, it was too late to quit. The damage was done. She was having chest and back pain for the last year and getting short of breath. The doctors never saw the mass hidden behind her heart thriving in her lung. They were too late finding her deck of cards sitting in her lung, too late to simply remove it and be done. I just hope that this chemo and radiation are not too late. That is what it all boils down to now. Will this treatment be too late?
Back to work at the walmart. Another day another dollar. After school I headed to work. Off to fix the worlds problems, or at least their watches. Maybe pierce an ear or two. After all they are usually done two at a time!
It was middle of the week when he showed up. just cruising through with his half cocked smile and beautiful features. He approached the counter and began asking about jewelry. Mostly the necklaces and bracelets. He had this fascination with Herring-bone necklaces. He wore one with his shirt slightly unbuttoned. He wasn’t all Italian with the hair hanging out and dancing in the wind. In fact he didn’t look to have any chest hair at all. I attributed that to the blond hair . Everyone knows blonds have less body hair.
He chatted and distracted me from work until I was reminded as security passed by that I still had work to do. He went on his way , flashed a smile and made note that I would see him again.
In fact I did, for three weeks, see him again, and again, and again. I saw him so much that security asked me several times if I needed assistance. I assured them I was fine, he was harmless.
He approached me several more times over the next few weeks asking about going out. I put him off because I still had an uneasiness that I could not place. I had an uneasiness that would not go away, but I carried on with my day to day life. After all, I was in my senior year and still had grad-night, prom and graduation to get through.
Friday night arrived and it was time to go out. He arrived in a silver jaguar wearing a gold tone paisley shirt with the sleeves rolled up to three-quarter. His golden blond hair parted down the middle feathered with his sunglasses atop his head. He came to the door and my mother seemed to appear less than impressed. As usual my father was off with his friends spending money that we didn’t have to support a hobby no one cared about. This object of attraction was courteous to my mother as she told me to be home by curfew. Out the door we left.
I can’t tell you much detail about the movie I was a bundle of nerves. I had many thoughts in my head. I didn’t really know this guy and what if something went wrong? When does the gut get a say in what happens? When would have been a good time to listen? I can honestly say, I wish more than anything I had listened. But I was so smitten with his interest in me and his kindness and good looks, that I was deaf to my own intuition.
After the movie, he needed to run by his house to pick something up. So we went. He was ” living with room-mates” in a nice upscale neighborhood. We arrived and entered into the foyer where just to our right was a dining room where three adults older than my parents sat playing cards and smoking cigarettes. In the living room was a large grand piano just past the sofa. He introduced me proudly to his two room-mates and their friend, an older gentleman in his 50’s. They seemed nice. I just didn’t look at the scene in my head through their eyes. I really wish I had.
We grabbed the things he was after and he drove me home. As he dropped me off, he asked if we could have another date. Clearly, I said yes.
Imagine being only 18 and working your first real job. Now imagine being an 18 year old girl working your first job and approached by a handsome much older man. Yes, that is how my story began.
I was just 2 months from graduating and had just turned 18. I was at the age where I considered myself grown just because another year had rolled by. It had absolutely nothing to do with my understanding of how this roller coaster called life works.
I didn’t know it then, but I was about to get on a ride that forgot to post the warning signs: caution do not ride if you know what is best for you! Instead, as the cart arrived I found myself not even waiting in line. I entered , and no one pulled the emergency brake, no one.
It was April and I was standing at the jewelry counter of my first real job. I was working to pay the insurance on my 1979 Ford Pinto. It was the first car that my parents could afford to by me. It was a whopping $300.00! It doesn’t sound like much, but to them it was more than they wanted to pay. Somehow my mother had managed to get the money out of my dad. I didn’t ask questions, I was just glad I finally ranked up there with my sister. Her first car was a 1979 ford fairmont for which they payed a grand. They said she needed reliable transportation. Funny, I don’t remember that in any of my pleadings for a car. Keep in mind, this is just a teenage kids perception of events. It wasn’t until 6 months later that I would experience life and the harsh realities it had in store.
I had worked for 2 weeks and during that time a nice looking guy had come buy three or four times to purchase jewelry. He had golden blond hair and deep blue eyes. His jaw line was chiseled with perfection. He had wide thick shoulders and smelled incredible. I am sure that he was wearing Eternity. He began to circle more frequently. I assumed he was just flirty, the security asked me at one point if I needed them to intervene. The red flag never went up. Not once.
He managed to get the nerve to ask me out. I said yes without hesitation. I did gulp a bit at the prospect of what my parents would think. I mean he was 31, which was much older than anyone my age should be dating.
It’s been a minute since my whole world was upside down. Like the house in Pigeon Forge , Tennessee, sitting right on its roof. It’s an attraction that many pay to see. Well sister, I wouldn’t have paid to see my house turned upside down. In fact, I would have paid anyone any amount to set it right!
Sometimes the mess is there and we just don’t see it until it’s too late. We trust people and they use it to gain power over our well-being. Then one day you are sitting outside and see that the house is now upside down and things are just spinning like a top at Christmas. BAM! it’s just too late.
I know because that is where I was, but I’m not anymore. I have found peace finally and it feels wonderful. Like the first day of fall when you open all the windows and that crisp fresh breeze blows in, causing the curtains to nearly rise to the ceiling. That kind of amazing.
The sadness now comes, not for me, but for them. Those who didn’t want to understand where the hurt grew from, what the cause of the festering blister may have been. It wasn’t the thorn that was stuck in the paw, it was the walking away and leaving it there to grow that hurt.
They are so far removed from the source of the pain, that they don’t realize I have moved on. I did pick myself up, dust myself off and I am happy. My happiness doesn’t depend on whether or not they approve of my life plan, whether they call me or rather not call me. My happiness comes from within. Knowing that I am achieving my life goals and that my kids and my husband are celebrating these moments and these wins with me. Isn’t that what it’s about?
It is so hard as a parent watching your kid struggle at life. You internalize and battle with what you missed as a parent. What could you have done differently? What would have made a difference? you start to second guess every decision, every let it go, every time you didn’t just let it go. It is so hard. Then poof, they are grown and you watch from afar.
It hurts, it hurts deeply. You told them all the time you love them, supported them, went to every parent teacher meeting, got learning help, put them in sports and attended the games, whatever was needed. What didn’t you do? Why can’t this person that you raised accept love, give love, or love themselves?
I wish I had the answer. I wish someone could tell me, because it is painful to see them post on their facebook how sad they are that life never works out. But when you reach out to them they shut you down.
The reality is they are grown and I can no longer affect the happiness they feel or rather don’t feel. The things that make their life difficult are results of repeated behaviors that he doesn’t want to change. It is hard. Because you just want your kids to be happy and be positive people and productive.
What do you do?
Being a mom of four, I tend to get teary at the craziest stuff. When I see my kids watching or doing anything amazing it makes me automatically tear up. It can be riding a carousel or baiting a fishing hook, it doesn’t really matter. Last night we went to the neighbors and did fireworks with him and his kids and grand kids. I think it was the first time that I didn’t tear up. My youngest is now 9 and a half and I suddenly feel the burn of this era of my life ending. That should be enough to make anyone tear up!
I am at that awkward stage in life. I have 4 kids and I spaced them too far apart. I am still a mother to young kids and now beginning the grand parent stage. It is incredibly awkward. I am sad this morning when I think of not having that joyful tearful reaction that I have become as accustomed to as peeing when I laugh or sneeze. It has been a part of me for 22 years and it feels weird to not have that reaction.
There were a lot of kids and people and our dogs were moving all around. I did spend most of the time making sure that everyone was clear of the multiple tiny explosions and sparklers happening all at once. Maybe I was just to busy and preoccupied to take in the joy of the moment. And it was a beautiful moment…
I hope everyone enjoyed the night and was grateful for our freedom.