…I would probably start off telling you something that I find embarrassing… and almost.. well not almost, actually sad. Since today is September 11th, I would tell you where I was 14 years ago. And it’s down right… disappointing. Everyone has these stories… these stories of the world stopping around them… and I … slept in that day. I slept thru one of the most devastating tragedies. I can tell you that my roommate (who I wasn’t too fond of at the time) woke me up and said I am going downstairs to watch the news. That’s all she said. And she left. And I remember being like “Thank God” and going back to sleep. I remember waking up late… and rushing to my Economics class… and it being… Empty. I instantly thought I had my days mixed up, so in a panic I was trying to figure out where I messed up my schedule. Honestly I couldn’t remember what day it even was. I am not much of a morning person… Still not… and in my confused state of self-absorbed panic I didn’t realize what was going on around me. I remember going back to my dorm and people were crying in the common area around the tv. So i walked over and realized what was happening. It’s a little disappointing how unaware I was and I wish I had just gotten out of bed that morning. But I didn’t. I always find it a little embarrassing when everyone talks about how they felt when they watched the live news coverage. I don’t even know if that day I understood it all. I don’t think I was capable at 19 to fully get it. It was almost like watching a movie and I just refused to believe it was real. I remember being completely and whole heartedly affected once the interviews started. the people lost… the people who were never found… the families…. the kids… the heartbreak. for me… that’s where the impact was. That’s when I got it. I remember watching and watching for weeks with friends… or alone, being completely consumed by it. But I didn’t get it that first day until the interviews started and I had faces to go with it.. I had stories to go with it… I often wonder if I am the only one that it took this long to really just understand the impact. I was naïve and 19 and immature… and all sorts of other things. I wish I had gotten out of bed. I wish that I had paid more attention in that moment. You would share your story and we would probably sit there in silence for a bit… because no matter when it hit you… the memory of it… the stories behind it… the senseless… confusing… act of hate… just leaves us in silence.
… I would be eager to change the subject, because I can’t handle issues like that very well. I would ask you if you find this time of year stressful with timing and planning. Holidays are approaching and it’s a super stressful few months coming up. I love the holidays and I love the memories we make with our kids and family. Sometimes, it’s stressful. Sometimes I feel that no matter what you do… no one is happy. You aren’t ever doing enough for anyone. It’s hard on both sides. I have divorced parents so that alone is hard enough. then his family lives about 2 hours away – but 3 hours in holiday traffic. …I would want to tell you more… but decide against it. Sometimes I wonder if anyone would connect with me on how I feel about that specific piece of my past but I’m too scared to openly share it. Maybe someday…
… I would probably share with you a recent frustration and ask you if you get blamed for everything on the outside being the wife. You would think as women we would learn right? Every woman has been accused of making decisions for her husband. If you can’t attend something, if you make a big purchase, if you have to leave early. They run with it – and always no matter what … the wife is behind it. I feel like this is common – not just among families… but even friends. Maybe not that situation exactly or maybe I am crazy and maybe you have never experienced this? But us as wives have been accused of forcing our husbands into something… that they are incapable of making a decision and it has to be the terrible wife doing it. Most of the time it’s other women who make these comments about women. We find the worst possible flaw in someone and exaggerate it, and in some cases just make up things to fill in the gaps of the unknown. But these women have been accused of the same thing in their lifetime by outsiders. So why do we continue the cycle? I sit around at work and I hear women upon women just blaming their son’s wives for everything, and I silently promise myself that I will never be one of them. And it seems to get worse at the beginning of the holiday season every year. And honestly I feel like this blame comes from so many angles… all aspects of the family… Moms, Dads, mother in laws, father in laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents – take your pick. Do you ever get the blame? I feel like because I am the keeper of our schedule… that the blame always falls on me. Because he uses the line “Let me check with her” and then he comes back with a No, sorry we can’t. I am now the source of all evil.
… I would share with you a convo that a recent friend and I had, it only lasted a few minutes we were busy watching the kids and when the kids are up its hard to stay focused on a convo for very long. But its a convo that has been stuck in my head all week. We discussed having boys and eventually becoming mother in-laws. We talked about how that will be our one shot at gaining a daughter and how to handle that. How it’s a fine line to ride, because clearly this girl will already have a mother that she adores. And how you fit into that picture. Which got me thinking about that day and letting go is so hard even at the age of 5 and that will be the day that I trust he has found the woman to share his life with. How special that is on its own. How nervous she will be (just like we all have been meeting “his” mother). I promised myself in that moment to remember how it feels to be her. I promised myself that I would be open and accepting and the only validation I will need is the smile on my son’s face when he introduces her to me. Never forget what that feels like and never blame her. To always trust that she has his best interest at heart. To accept that while I may hold his past she will hold his future. She is now the person he shares his secrets with… his dreams with. And as always my job as his mother will be here… his number one cheerleader on the sidelines. But at that moment, the moment he tells me he plans on starting his life with her… my job changes. I am no longer his cheerleader on the sideline, but I am theirs. I will need to remember I am not only his cheerleader, but also hers.
… I would share with you that I have always been so envious of those girls who honestly couldn’t care what others think. Not those rebellious I am going to get a face tattoo and pierce every inch of body and be as in your face and stand up agains the man types. (And please note… if you are that type… I think that’s great… just not where I am going with this point) I am talking those who just… are easily unaffected by hurtful words. Those who can just brush it off and are so self-aware and self-assured that it doesn’t get to them. Do those people exist outside of movies? I don’t know why I allow this doubt to creep in. I know I am a good mom. And I know I am a good wife. So why do I allow myself to feel this way? People tend to talk about each other. It’s human nature. We all do it. I have done it. You have done it. We all wish we wouldn’t do it. And most of us make an attempt to stop… but none of us succeed. I have been on the other end of the hurtful tongue plenty of times. Too many times to be honest.
… I would probably sit there quiet for a while… and still be thinking about it. I would tell you I have learned … how important an apology is… and without an apology how some wounds stay open. I have learned that some comments in the moment of anger…. Stick in our heads forever. And to never say cruel words to my children out of anger. Because once words are said… you can never take them back and those words will haunt them. I have learned that people will always talk about you, no matter how hard you try… and it is impossible to please everyone. And everything you say, Always gets back to the person you said it about. I have learned that my job as a parent is to be there. To show up. The day that I do not show up…. Is a day that will alter my relationship with them forever. I will always … show up. And I learned that even with age my feelings get hurt easily and as much as I wish that wasn’t the case. However, I would rather care too much than too little.
…I would ask you how you handle all the white noise of being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a daughter in law, an aunt…. a friend?
… by then the baby would be up and ready for the day to begin… and we would have to say our goodbyes… until next week when we share another cup of coffee…