I believe that in life if you don’t get the lesson the first time, you get to do it over and over again until you get it right. I never realized how true that was until it really hit me in the face.
I have evolved ,over the years, into a completely different person. I am but a shadow of my former self and that is very good news. Not that I was a bad person, but I was a very hurt and broken person. My daily decisions were all based in fear, anger and low self-esteem. I was broken by the sudden loss of my father when I was 17. It was sudden, completely unexpected, especially for a man of 48 years old. He had been out of work for a solid year and finally got a new job. He was a truck driver. On his very first day of work, he was excited to be able to get financially stable once again. On that very day, he never came home again. He died of a heart attack while unloading that truck.
My world changed and I went into a tailspin of deep depression. My life choices were made out of fear of being alone; out of fear of losing another; out of fear of not having someone to take care of me. I got married at the age of 18. I was so naive, just a child actually. I was scratching my way through the muck of life with no direction. I had two sons from that marriage that ended in divorce after nine years. I was low-spirited for that period of my life. My children didn’t know that. They just needed me to be a Mom and I gave it my best with what I had to work with. At that point in time, I had not evolved into anything but a sorrowful, depressed young woman and unfortunately that is what I gave to my boys. I remarried and had a daughter with my second husband. I felt that was my chance to start over and use previous experiences to grow and to raise my children. It was all so fresh and new. But, I still carried the sadness and fear and depression with me. Since that was what I had, that is what I once again given to my children. Don’t get me wrong, I was the best mother that I could be. My children were well cared for and loved but I wasn’t able to give them the best version of me because I hadn’t met her yet.
I raised my kids and felt that I was mothering them pretty well. The struggles of raising kids never ends. You’re always trying to teach them lessons and show them the way. I made so many mistakes along the way. I was rigid and expected them to grow with the rules that I grew up with. I was unrelenting in my high expectations of children that were so young. I look back now and wonder to myself, “What was I thinking?”. I was so involved in the “rules” that I couldn’t see that I wasn’t allowing for the fact that they were children and so they should be able to act like children.
I have always been a searcher, meaning that I was a soul-searcher. As I grew, I learned more and more to allow my spirituality to help me raise my children. But, that took a long time and my kids were getting older and turning into teenagers and young adults. I have to say that my children are 5 years apart. I was one person when I had my first child at the age of 20 and a completely different person when I had my second child at the age of 25 and then again changed when I had my third child at the age of 30. I was evolving at a slow rate. I was finding that problems were getting bigger with my kids and I was not equipped to handle them. I was still allowing fear, sadness and anger to guide my life. Looking back now and seeing the mistakes I made just makes me cringe with sadness.
Now at the age of 57, it all seems so clear as does most things when looking in the rearview mirror.
My second marriage ended in divorce after 15 years. I moved on to a new relationship and at that point, my daughter was 14. The boys were adults then and I had grandchildren. Still, at that point, I was not seeing the true needs of my daughter. Again, she was well cared for but I was overlooking the most important things. I was missing what her feelings were and what she was going through. I was on a new journey and she was along for the ride.
While all this was going on, I eventually had a nervous breakdown and was forced into therapy. I thought it was the worst day of my life but it turned out to be the best day. I gave in and sought therapy and healed through hard work, blood, sweat and tears. I finally healed from the loss of my father. His death was 33 years before this. So much healing took place with that year of therapy. I learned how to communicate with my daughter and I learned how to stand up for myself and look at the world with more loving eyes as the sadness began to roll away. I allowed myself to be accountable for all the mistakes I made while raising my children. I spoke with each one individually and acknowledge my mistakes and asked them to share with me the things that I had done that hurt them so much. I apologized to each of them. I learned so much about myself at that point in my life.
My evolution at that point was monumental but I had another surprise in store for me that I didn’t see coming. My boyfriend has a daughter that is 8 years younger than my daughter. All this time she lived with her mother until her mother’s circumstances changed and his daughter came to live with us at the young age of 14. Wow, I thought I could handle taking care of a 14 year old. I had done it 3 times and now had grandchildren; a lot of experience under my belt. Once again, my eyes were opened. This child was different, I was different. The “rules” that I had raised my children with weren’t working. I suddenly became that same old rigid mother type again. What was I thinking?
I guess I didn’t get the full lesson after raising three children and grandchildren so, I got to do it again. My step-daughter and I went on a journey together. We learned together what worked and what didn’t work. I learned to not be so rigid and to acknowledge when I was being unreasonable and apologize. She began to respond positively and we grew a bond with each other. Today, as she is now 19 years old, we live in a very peaceful environment. We work together to achieve peace in the house. We have compromised with each other about our daily habits and life is good.
I remember saying very adamantly, “I’m never going to raise anyone else’s kids.” I so forcefully put that out into the universe and the universe heard me and responded with another chance to get the lesson.
Never say never!