Lucky

We all have them.

Memories that we wish we could forget…things that we wish we could banish from our minds.

Imagine that writing down your worst memory will free you of it.

What is it?

Why does it haunt you?

What could you have done differently?

Write it down and let it go.

Let’s keep it to 600 words or less.

* * *

I am lucky.

I know this.

Trying to respond to this prompt made it all the more clear: I regret many moments and choices I’ve made, but I don’t wish to forget any of them.

None of them resulted in catastrophe.

Some ended in heartbreak, leaving scars but my soul intact – something I can harness in writing.

Some overwhelm me with guilt and shame – but I use these to remind me what I wish to change.

Some terrify me – a reminder to be careful in future.

Some are sad, bringing tears to my eyes – but they are life, which is messy and imperfect.

I am blessed.

I have a husband who I love, although at times I simultaneously wish to strangle him.

I have two healthy children who push my buttons, drive me to the brink, then give me a hug and drool upon me. While I wish they would actually obey me more than test boundaries, I would not change who they are.

I have a home. Air conditioning in Texas.

My husband is paid enough I can stay at home with my kids, and still have the occasional vacation.

I am lucky.

If I truly chose a moment to forget, to banish forever,  it would surround my failings, not those done to me.

The moments that eat at me as mother, filled with remorse and mommy guilt.

The Mommy Monster moments.

Yelling at my children – when it isn’t deserved.

Lashing out in anger.

Listening but not truly hearing what they’re saying.

Striking one child to protect the other.

So many tiny moments I wish I could erase.

Yet I hold them tight.

To remind me the next time.

That is not me.

That is desperation. Exhaustion. Hormones.

Fear.

Fear I am not good enough. Can never be.

Fear I will fail them through my own weakness.

Fear the tiny times of resentment will somehow overthrow the love I share.

Fear I was stupid to think I could handle this parenting thing.

Would I love to banish this fear forever? This guilt? This doubt?

Hell yes.

Do I think it helps hold me in line and remind me of who I am and who I want to become?

Hell yes.

I am lucky.

For my worst memories are survivable – lessons for my future.

I embrace them all.

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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21 Responses to Lucky

  1. Erin says:

    It’s a good thing to learn from our past. I, like you, would not change a thing of my past, it makes me who I am today.
    But damn those mommy guilt moments right?

  2. I like your spin on this. It’s definitely something I also can relate to, also.

  3. Lynn says:

    Good strong piece. I like all you have said here. You are very lucky. I have plenty of those “learning” moments as well. Part of living. Part of parenting. I guess.

  4. Daily I feel like I’m doing my kids an injustice. I wonder if my mother ever worried about it…as even though I grew up with yelling and all that – I mainly remember love.

    • You just reminded me of multiple moments I wish I could erase from another’s mind. Me, the screaming teenager, tossing words like, “I hate you!” at my mother. I hated her actions and rules, not her. I always loved her.

      Still do.

  5. Frelle says:

    My heart aches for you, and at the same time, for myself, because I know exactly the moments in my life that keep me in line. All of mine have been survivable and the lessons I have learned are what make me who I am, too. I think we would both like the moments to be erased from our children’s minds, even if not from ours. Bravely written. Thank you for the validation.

  6. Kat says:

    What a beautiful and honest post.
    I had the same feelings when writing this subject matter. Do I really want to erase any of my memories? Even the horrible ones? We learn something (many things) from each experience. The wonderful and horrible experiences help to make us who we are. In the end, I think I’d keep ALL of my memories. Good and bad. You expressed that BEAUTIFULLY. 🙂

  7. Elaine says:

    I think that last part is key and you nailed it. We DO learn from our mistakes. It seems to be almost a daily thing for me at times. Ugh. But I join you in saying “Hell Yes” to both. xo

  8. Anastasia says:

    This is exactly how I feel about the bad things in live. You have to take the lesson learned and try to forget the bad. Great post!

  9. Welcome back, Kelly! You’ve been missed.

    Some of the worst memories I have are also tinged with humor or, simply, with personal growth. I am also very, very fortunate.

  10. angela says:

    Many of my worst memories are tinged with that guilt & shame, mommy moments and teen moments and everything in between.

    I love your perspective of those memories being a moral compass.

    And your kids? They know your love.

  11. Debbie says:

    “So many tiny moments I wish I could erase.

    Yet I hold them tight.

    To remind me the next time.

    That is not me.”

    As a mom I relate with this on such a deep level. I don’t need any help taking my inventory, I have a pretty accurate list going on my own. That we know our shortcomings and faults puts us ahead of the game because we know, we realize what we have done and are determined to do a better job.

  12. Tina says:

    I loved this! The way you rolled out your feelings, the descriptions, all of it was great.

  13. Tina says:

    I loved this! The way you rolled out your feelings, the descriptions, all of it was great.

    I hope this publishes–I am typing on my phone!

  14. Renee says:

    This is perfect! I had similar thoughts but couldn’t express them.
    We are who we are. good, bad, or ugly. We need to embrace the whole.

  15. I love how introspective this is, and how it is hopeful/focused on how your memories, experiences and decisions can/will effect your kids. Different than many of the other responses to the prompt. Well done.

  16. We were outside the other day with one of the neighbor boys (who is quite rampant because of MANY diagnosed disorders).. and his mother began yelling at him to stop hitting one of my kids while they were playing. He turned and bolted, which earned more yelling for him to get back over there NOW!

    To which my 7 year old responded, “Wow, Cole’s mom. You sound like my mom.”

    =

    I’m hoping the yelling is not all they remember because I’ve had that guilt over it as well. Those Monster Mommy moments are not pretty at all..

    Thank you for sharing this in such a way that we, as mothers, can all relate.

  17. Sedre says:

    hi, just came across your blog and happen to land upon this entry.

    Gratitude has been what has helped me the most in the last year.

    Currently I am enjoying pursuing my dream of opening a non-profit in south austin and writing my blog about the experience thus far has been something that I look forward to. I love to be creative and writing is one awesome outlet for creativity right? Just from reading this post of yours I have to tell you I commend you, I respect you and I thank you for sharing your inner thoughts and feelings so that other parents can feel safe and “normal” about their feelings and thoughts.

    I will take your offer up on writing down what haunts me and what I could’ve done differently because I think it could be beneficial in regards to my healing that I am still going through, regardless if anyone reads this I think I need to write it out and “let it go.”

    What haunts me and what I could’ve done differently….wow, where shall I start?? Gonna try to be as brief as possible here, bear with me:

    Last summer I moved back home to ATX, after being away for 5 years in Los Angeles (moving there to pursue acting at the ripe age of 30, yup I’m crazy like that) I came back with a 9 month boy in tow. 2 1/2 yrs previous to this I had met the first guy I ever thought I could marry. He told me things I never heard before, I experienced things with him I had never experienced before and I thought all was good, but things came up (as they often do right?) and I didn’t know what was happening, then after a year of going through some ups and downs with him, I got pregnant. It was scary, it was unplanned, I tried to embrace it as much as I could but I was SCARED, fear set in (but it was hidden) and happiness too–I always wanted kids and I was 34 already so why not embrace? I was scared because I knew the father of my baby, whom I was living with, was unsure too, I FELT he was even moreso than I was, but I didn’t know how to express my feelings authentically to him and vice versa so we just meandered through. We definitely had some good times throughout the pregnancy (bouts of morning sickness where he was supportive, 3 cheerful baby showers, some nice trips to the nearby beach,one home to ATX and one to Palm Springs and to top it off a birth experience that was totally unexpected where he was SUPER supportive) but afterwards things slowly started to take a turn for the not so good. I realize this all now, of course back then I was a new mom fogged by a HUGE dark cloud. I luckily didn’t go through that post partum depression but I was sad a lot because I was away from all my family (of which I am very close to) and this affected me big time. Then what my baby’s father was going through was something too… and I felt it but I didn’t (in my opinion now) know how to handle it the best. I felt he “wasn’t into the baby” and I felt he didn’t help me enough with middle of the night support, and with other baby things like having the main responsibility of taking/dropping off baby at daycare when I went back to work, not being into feeding/bathing him, things like that…so of course I brought it up and he would reply with his replies and justifications and I would be upset with his answers and internalize it. More fear set in big time, but I didn’t realize it was “fear” at the time, until after the relationship ended. That’s when I realized A LOT, when the cloud had begun to dissipate. I realized the one thing I was most scared of happened, which was being a single mother, particularly to a little boy. My dad left my mom when I was 14, he left her with us, 3 kids to raise, I was the oldest, and I saw how it affected her, and my siblings. My mom was heartbroken to say the least. My brother was very close to him and when my dad left he was 11 yrs old, my brother ended up dropping out of school in 9th grade and resorted to drinking and has been an alcoholic ever since ( I believe that had my dad kept in touch and continued his relationship with him things would be different, but hey who knows right?) I remember thinking how I thought I wanted to kill myself back then because it hurt so much. How could he just leave and not want anything to do with us? After being a “normal” dad, he just left for years with no desire to see us, for years…

    Fast forward to me getting a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and having the experience of working with many children who were fatherless, being raised by single moms or even grandmas. I saw firsthand how this had a negative effect, especially for the boys who didn’t have a father or any positive male influence in their lives. Yup, you probably see where I’m going here right? These 2 huge factors of experiencing what I did with my father and seeing it right before my eyes through my work as a social worker made me ULTRA sensitive to this type of situation, and I never ever thought it would or could happen to me. And it did. It happened. One day I found myself moving back to Texas separating from, and then soon afterwards breaking up with my son’s father. I regret breaking up with him, I was extremely emotional after the build up of everything (the move without him, him rejecting my counseling suggestion, him not being a “baby person” etc.) I regret it and he never wanted to get back with me, although I begged him, for months, I tried to convince him to get back together so we could “work it out” but it was no good, he was moving on and has moved on. And I’m here trying my best to heal properly, to unlove him, to make a better life for myself and my now 2 year old little boy. Lots of things make me happy…. yet still lots of things make me sad and bring back memories. Ironically, my son looks all like his father, (as most everyone agrees!)so i am reminded of this man I still love, and thought I would marry, everyday. I’m doing my best to change those feelings and I’m learning to love him in a different way and for the fact that he gave me the greatest gift ever. I’m learning to express my feelings (something I didn’t do enough of when I was in the relationship) both verbally and physically (ex. being more affectionate–pretty easy to do with my son, he has opened my heart in more ways than one!) I am constantly seeking to become a better, more loving and caring person.

    Thank you Universe, Thank you God, for giving me a beautiful, healthy little boy who has taught me how to express love, who encourages me to be a better person out in the world and who I have so much fun with!

    Oh and thanks for reading and allowing me to “let it go…”

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