Ravines of Regret

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Personal

This weekend I had a lot of deep thoughts swirling around in my head (and no they weren’t like Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy).  I was thinking about regrets, specifically mine.  I’ve pretty much cleared up those kind of things except in regards to my daughter.  The divorce was difficult on her.  It has also hampered how much time I get to spend with her and, more importantly, it has made protecting her from negative influences from people who will remain nameless.

The more I pondered those regrets and the guilt that always accompanies such things, I was struck by how it felt.  It was as if I had followed these feelings into a dead-end, a deep ravine from which I couldn’t go forward and I couldn’t climb out.  The ravines of regret are where the future goes to die.  My only option was to go back to the entrance, back to the where I’d made the decision to enter the ravine and this time to act in such a way as to avoid the ravine altogether–or at least try to avoid entering it again.

While this was all tumbling around inside my head, my daughter was being her usual very challenging self this weekend.   On Sunday she was being obstinate about taking a shower.  Now, I remember fighting about such things with my Mom but not at 8 and 3/4 years old.  I was maybe 5 at the time.  I checked online and sure enough, it’s more common at this age than one would think.  It took quite a lot of arguing to finally get her to take one (about half an hour) and here is how I convinced her.

Note here I’d tried everything else at this point including telling her that the boys won’t like her…so please no comments about how I have to whip her behind….that only pisses her off more and she is getting too big to use corporal punishment for every day stuff like this….I save that for the really big lessons).  We were at a point where she had retreated to her room to cry it out because I had raised my voice in anger at her.  I went in and very calmly said, “Why don’t you want to take a shower?”

She replied, “I just don’t want to.”

I said, “But I do want you to.  Is that not enough reason?”

She shook her head, “No”.

So I countered with “Love is sacrifice.  Love sometimes means doing things you would rather not do for someone else.  I do lots of things for both you and Liam that I would rather not do because I love you.  Here’s just one example.  I really hate being woken up in the night but you frequently wake me up when you have a nightmare.  And it’s okay because I love you.”

Then I dropped the bomb on her, “Do you love me?  If you loved me and respected me you would go take a shower.”

She nodded, yes.  She wiped away her tears, quietly stood up and went into the bathroom to take a shower.

I was exhausted by the time all this was over.  Now imagine this on just about everything she does…eating (what, where, when), going to bed, doing her homework, picking up her things, talking about the weather…when I say everything I mean everything.  Some kids are just more obstinate than others.   Meghan has been this way since she was 16 months old.  She is my little Miss Contrary and I love her so much it hurts.

My regret was that I wasn’t stronger during the divorce and made some bad choices.  Notice I say ‘was’ because that’s all in the past now.  I’m in a new landscape now that has no room for ravines of regret and the future is still very much alive.


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