I figured I would just go ahead and finish out my thoughts on love and move on from there…I don’t promise not to go back to it, but the other posts will probably be a little lighter than these 🙂
One of the things that I have realized with my son is the problem with guilt and regret. I used to believe that regret was an okay, or possibly even an important part of life. So I began to have issues with regretting what I had done that night. I never regretted Jack, but I certainly regret the way he had to come into this world. I hadn’t provided a perfect home-life. I had given him a father-less existence. I had acted upon frustration, immaturity and impatience, not love. I felt like I had very little to offer to him other than guilt and regret.
My guilt was tremendous and drenched in unforgiveness. I couldn’t forgive myself for doing what I knew not to do. I couldn’t forgive his father for choosing to leave. He did attempt to try, sort of, for a little while, but he ultimately chose to leave. In my mind had he chosen to try it would have made things better. It would have made my choices better. It would help make up for the choice we made that night. We could undo the wrong by choosing to do right.
But the problem is we cannot undo wrongs. We cannot change any of the things we have done with our lives. We cannot change the thoughts we had in the past. We cannot change the actions we took in the past. We cannot change the good. We cannot change the bad. The control over the past is existent only in our past. It does not exist today.
This realization left me with quite a problem. I didn’t know how to move forward, because I was holding on to what I had done wrong. I felt guilt and sadness. And even as I was realizing this in my life, I had to let go of that regret. Yes, it was wrong. I chose to put my need to find temporary relief from one overwhelming relationship by frantically diving into another ahead of anything else. Instead of standing strong and putting my son’s future being into consideration, my actions resulted in him being born to a broke, single-parent who didn’t really know how to make things right.
The night he was born I spoke more to the boy who I was trying to get away from, than I did to my child’s biological father. His father never said a word, even though he was informed of what was happening. I was bringing a child into chaos in my personal life. I loved a boy, who in all honesty I believed should and one day would be my son’s father. And even though I did everything I could to try to help my son’s biological father, I came up empty. He shut down. He was terrified. And all I really had to offer was a relationship with his son. But I was still figuring out who I was, and whether or not I was capable of loving my son, and what that even meant. I couldn’t really help my son’s father anyway.
I thought if I was sad then I wasn’t really loving Jack like a mother should, because with unconditional love there is no sadness. There is no fear. There is only trust. There is no worry. There is only love. But I was scared and worried for him all the time. I was sad that he didn’t have the life he deserved. I was sad that I couldn’t offer it to him. And as time has moved on, I do find that I still feel sad sometimes about the things I cannot give to him.
But I did find that I cannot regret what I have done forever. I can know it was the wrong choice. I can learn from it and choose to do things differently. I can choose not to live in fear and not to give in for temporary happiness.
If I want what is real and what is right then I must do things that coincide with that. I must be real in my interactions. I must make the right choices. I have to be the person that I want to be if I am ever going to look back and see what I want to see. So when it came to figuring out how to let go of the guilt and the worry and the sadness, it turned out that my issue was not truly regret, so much as it was forgiveness.
I could not forgive myself for what I had done. I could not forgive myself for the choices I made that night, or many other nights for that matter. I could not let go of who I was in that moment long enough to see who I needed to be right now. The shame that I felt in letting my son down was so intense. The fear had covered me whole, and finding how to love again was incredibly difficult.
I looked over my actions with my son. I wasn’t being a bad mother. I was completely devoted. There must be some love in there, right? I do everything I know to do for him. I care for him the best way I know to. I teach him the things I know how to teach him. I play, I laugh, and I sing and dance with him. I feel joy when I just think about him. Surely there must be love there, right?
It’s funny how easily we are willing to choose to feel guilty, instead of letting go and feeling the good things that life has to offer, especially love. I was told by a lady once in a class that guilt was a useless emotion. Each day I am more and more certain she was correct. Any thoughts?
I’m sort of cheating today. I am in a wedding today, and I was at the rehearsal all last night, so I’m sharing my thoughts on love today, but from something I had previously written. It’s relevant, though I’m not talking about a wedding or a relationship in that sense. I’ve only had bad relationships, so that wouldn’t work too well right here. But I am sharing a story that describes what it was like for me to first encounter what unconditional love really meant. I hope you’ll enjoy it. And I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend, thus far!! Please share any thoughts you have on the topic!
I remember when I was a child that I always believed in unconditional love. I believed it existed. I believed it was something we all needed to know. I believed it was powerful. And I believed it was natural. I’m not sure where those ideas came from. I’d mostly call my upbringing one that was somewhat skeptical on the subject. And I remember thinking that there was something different about the way I thought about things compared to the people around me.
Even though I was fearful, I was always also hopeful. Down inside me, I just knew there was something great awaiting my life. I never knew what that could be, although at the time I’m sure I was hoping I’d be a singer. I just knew there was possibility. The older we get the more practical we tend to become. And after having fear wipe away the majority of my notions about me doing anything great with my life, I gave up on the idea that love could exist without problems, mainly jealousy. To that time, I had never known a friendship or any relationship really where there wasn’t some form of disappointment or some form of jealousy involved.
When I turned 16 all of this changed. Well, maybe not all, but a major turning point did appear. My first nephew was born. When I found out that I was going to be an aunt I was so excited. I couldn’t wait. I was just thrilled. I loved kids. I was always good with them. My patience is at its best with children (at least until they become teenagers!) And to have a baby around after being the youngest child gave me the chance I never had before. I always wanted to have someone I could teach. I never had anything to teach my siblings. They were both older than me, and we were all always right. You couldn’t tell any of us anything. My main goal was simply to be better than them when it came to academics. Maybe that’s why I’m still in school. I should probably talk to someone about that. But, again I digress.
My nephew was born, and my love that I had so wanted to share with someone finally had a place. My nephew was a perfect little baby, and the day he came home from the hospital I got to spend time alone with him. I sang him Winnie-the-Pooh and hoped he didn’t cry, because I had never fixed a bottle before and wasn’t sure I could follow the instructions without burning the bottle on the stove. It was terrifying and wonderful all at once.
But I knew as I sat there with him that night that there was nothing that he could do that could possibly shake my love for him. And I wasn’t jealous. I wasn’t disappointed. I was just filled with love. I wanted great things for him. I wanted to do everything I could to help him be his best. I was excited to know him and to help him with his future. I wanted to take care of him, and I wanted him to be able to function on his own. I wanted everyone to love him. I was terribly upset at the thought that someone might ever be mean to him. I wanted to keep him safe and have him know only love, and even now sometimes I still think it’s unfortunate that life doesn’t work that way. But he was the first person who I was allowed to care for in such a way, and his presence along with my other nephews’ has helped guide me to the path I want and need to be on today.