Friday, January 25, 2008

Regrets I Have a Few

It's only six short days now until ClareBear takes her first step on a 11 month journey into the wild. I'm not so much concerned about the journey but now the inevitable has taken hold. She is no longer a child, no longer living at home and no longer 'touchable' every day. We are very close. She knows more about her parent than any child really should and we share everything with each other so this particular wrench is difficult even though I've been preparing for it for months. It's a feeling of mourning . . I know . . . I've been there before.

This week the invitations are rife. She has been entertained at work with lunches and signs of appreciation, she is being entertained at night by girlfriends taking her for expensive secret dinners and appointments as a grande finale. She has Australia day celebrations today during her last day at work and has asked me to pick her up, guaranteed that she will have imbibed all afternoon and not be fit to drive. On the weekend, we are having a farewell to end farewells complete with the water slippery slide, pool both wet and involving hard balls, poker, dancing, guests including family and friends and guaranteed to be a bender from midday into the small hours. (I'm dreading the cleanup on Monday).

As she left last night with two life long friends for a surprise dinner, she was, tanned, gorgeous, silf-like, sexy and a little fragile in a pretty little black dress with a satin ribbon tie. Of course I teared up again . . . something that is completely alien to me. I am not a crier by any means. I find myself not speaking to her or looking at her too often because it sets me off. I began thinking whether I'd done everything right. Whether I've properly prepared both my children for the world at large.

With her and with DrummerBoy, I think I've done all I can. He could do with a little more shaping round the rough edges but other than that no regrets. I think parenting is my swansong, my magnum opus. It's something I've done well to date. I wish I could sing that Sinatra song, My Way "Regrets I've had a few but then again too few to mention . . ." Sadly I have a stable- full of regrets. There's a load of stuff I'd do differently if I could:

  • I'd hug my dad more. We had an 'unstated' affection for each other but all he wanted/needed was a bit more physical affection after my mum died. I was a 'there there' pat on the back 7 seconds should do it type. No. I should have embraced him more often, told him I understood and loved him more often.
  • I wish I'd never bought two horses
  • I should have made love to my husband the night before he died instead of bickering about bla bla issues that had no importance. I never had the chance to explain the following morning.
  • I wish I'd shown my vulnerability after he died. I should have told people how devastated and upset I was instead of being this bastion of self control so that those who wanted to help felt they no longer needed to offer assistance. Years later, I found my mother's diary and she stated that I was untouchable, frail and unaproachable and expressed how impotent she felt not being able to communicate with me.
  • I should have been more careful with my money. I had an insurance payout. I didn't squander it but I could have made better use of it.
  • I should have put well fitting fly screens on my house.
  • I should have been kinder to HippyBro even though he's an asshole I shouldn't have given him the ammunition to hate me.
  • I should never have gained so much weight at 35, now it's a bitch to whittle away
  • I should have put more thought into the design of my house or indeed whether I should have built it on my parent's property in the first place.
  • I should have embarked on a romantic relationship when I was younger instead of worrying so much about what my children might have thought.
  • I should be less of an iron maiden and a coper. Those who flounder or appear useless seem to get more support.
  • I should have been more proactive in maintaining my friendships. Fortunately, they are wonderful people and the important ones have forgiven my lack of contact.

So you see, I have regrets. And much as people tell me they don't regret anything, I can't believe that's true. Right now, I regret taking my daughter overseas when she was 12. I regret sending her to Japan on a school exchange . . . by the same token, I want her to have the wealth of experience that travel - not just touring - provides. So, while I consider putting her woollies in moth-proof plastic and cleaning off her hard drive and turning her bedroom into an office, I am trying very hard to balance my regrets with the gratitude that I feel for having had a very tumultuous but interesting life so far and two incredibly well-adjusted children for whom I hold a deep love and respect with absolutely no regrets.

Well adjusted DrummerBoy

Even better adjusted, ClareBear . . .


Brianf said...

I have got to meet Clarebear! I love a woman with a 12" chefs knife.
And as to Drummerboy.....don't try to hone the rough edges....It's what makes him, well, Adam.
You did alright, quit crying .....she'll be OK.

Anonymous said...

I can't stand snotty nosed snibbling and without being a bastion of self control, you wouldn't have ended up having two incredibly well-adjusted children! Cheer up Baino, you cry and we all cry with you ... *need a tissue* Enjoy your weekend and barbecue those sausages like there's no tomorrow!

Babysis said...

Aww someone needs a hug...c'mon...I'll give you a group hug on Sundy. Its a rite of passage Baino and you took it yourself - I would have too if my husband didnt have flying issues. Its a good thing, she'll be back and your embrace will be that long lingering full one that you wished you'd given dad. Chin up love!

Kate said...

I can say, with perfect honesty and a clear conscience, that I don't have regrets. This is because I have a strong belief in the accumulation of small things bringing me to where I am now. I've lived through, and done, any number of unfortunate and embarrassing and pathetic and weird experiences, to be sure, but my fundamental life philosophy is, "Change one thing, change everything." And while life is not perfect right this very second, says the woman with nerve pain shooting through her spine and a shitload of student loan debt and a sick baby, it is damn good and I wouldn't risk any of the good things for a chance to go back and change something in the past. Who knows just which events were crucial to bring me right here, where I am right now? To who I am right now?

So, no regrets. Lots of screw-ups, but no regrets.

And go ahead and sniffle a little, it's good for you to let a little out and it's better for Clare to see proof that her departure means something. We need to know our mamas love us and miss us when we're gone.

Anonymous said...

Go on, have a bl**dy good cry and get that out of your system. It will allow to give ClareBear her wings more easily.

Think of all the experiences waiting to be stored in her memory bank for viewing many years from now. Right at the top of her list will be a generous mother who encouraged her to venture forth.

Enjoy the Party.

nonny said...

Baino you are mad, you go from expressing the sheer devastation of losing your husband to fly screens ah ha ha. I don’t cry that often either I am as solid as a rock; you should see my muscles. I understand the sadness you feel about your daughter leaving, the build up is a killer, but then it gets easier.

Baino said...

Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. Yesterday was a blue and bleak day all round for a number of reasons. I am coming to terms with the inevitable and I know it's the best thing she could do and you're right. It's all this build up and long farewells. I'll be back in control next week.

steph said...

Baino - that was INCREDIBLY moving!

I'm too much in awe and admiration of you to say anything useful.

So just sending big hugs your way

(((hugs))) (((hugs))) (((hugs)))