When I was eight I was a swimmer and there was a girl in my squad who I still remember. Her mum left one day and didn’t come back. She chose another man over her two daughters and she actually left them. They had their dad who is a brilliant guy, but the fact remains; she left them.
I often think of her and since my own mum has bailed on me I think about her a lot more. You don’t understand people’s pain as a child so I didn’t really appreciate what she went through. Now that I’ve been rejected a few times, I think I have a glimpse into that pain.
But what must that have felt like as a child? And does she still feel that pain? I don’t know how many more days or weeks or months I can handle this level of discomfort and I’m a grown woman. Has she lived with this feeling all these years? If she has, then she’s a stronger woman than me.
I’m writing about this because Mother’s Day is almost upon us and that pain just seems to intensify that Sunday. It hurts so much to know that my mum isn’t dead. She just chooses to be apart from me. There are others out there and I feel your pain with all my heart.
I had my son when I was 20. That’s not scarily young, but it is much younger than most of my friends have been when having their children. And over all this time the question that has been rattling around my brain is ‘was I too young?’
I know that I’ve done a pretty good job but I wonder about all the variables that could have made things easier or better. And then I start to think that maybe I made mistakes and maybe I’ve screwed it all up.
On the one hand, being young meant that I never got my career started before I had my son. I’m now in my mid thirties and I’m only thinking about this now as most women have that all wrapped up before they get pregnant. I think of all the money that I could have earned, and if I had waited would that mean that I could have given him a better life with better ‘stuff’?
I also think about the patience that I have now in comparison to when I was 20. It was hard to keep my cool with a demanding toddler that needed all of my attention when I still didn’t even know what I needed as a person. If I had waited, would I have been a kinder mother?
There is also the fact that it was still early days in my relationship with the father and that didn’t work out so I had to bring up my son on my own. I envy women who have several kids with a loving partner and a nice house and car. But once again, I only have myself to blame.
However, I look at Noah and I know that even though I was young and in some ways I could have done things better, I still gave him all the love that he needed to feel safe and secure. And that seems to be the thing that most kids remember and need. There are pros and cons to having kids early or waiting and just because somebody is forty and has a great job, doesn’t mean they’ll be great parents.
I didn’t write this to slate anyone’s choices in life, but rather I wanted to say that we all take our own paths and normally it all works out for the best. If we all waited for the perfect life there would be no fun stories or adventures out there in the world because we’d all have the same life.
So even if you think you might have made a mistake and released the ball a bit quick, just enjoy the ride. Even if you end up miles off target, you’re going to end up somewhere!
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