Monday, June 24, 2013
Out of the mouths of babes
Sometimes I question how developed I am.
On paper, I have a good head on my shoulders, though not without faults. I work hard. People trust me to get things done, and I care deeply (to a fault sometimes) for others. But I have been consistently unsuccessful at one things: forgiving myself.
Instead, I try to work the guilt out of me, doggedly pursuing a way to make things right, even though I know things just are as they are with no chance to change. And I wholly accept the responsibility for influencing change, even if there is the slimmest to none chance of that ever even happening. In essence, I drive myself crazy. One accusation that will always be false is that I don't take responsibility for my actions. If anything, I take on too much instead of just letting things be because I'm a fixer. It's my greatest strength and my biggest weakness. And it is something that I must manage in order to actually live.
I had to share a hard truth with my son, who also has the 'give it to me straight' attitude that I have. I didn't want to tell him to let something go...to erase the kind of hope that a kid holds onto before he becomes a cynical adult like his me. I just didn't want to take that away from him, but I had to for our own good. No parent wants to see their child hurt, but I think that in order to truly raise them the best you can, you just have to be there to hold their hand when they hurt, because it's an inevitable and redundant occurrence.
It broke my heart to do it. He saw that it broke my heart to tell him something he didn't want to hear. I felt like I had failed at helping him with something, despite having helped him with so many other things in his life. And when I could actually look him in the eyes and not really break down, he held my gaze, put his hand on my shoulder and in a wobbly voice said, 'Ma, it's ok. I'm fine. No matter what, I'd rather be here than not be here so I'm ok.' And with that, I felt like I had been absolved of all of my fuck ups for the past 13 years.
I wish I could say that I learned how to forgive myself all on my own, but I did not. My son did that for me, for the both of us, and there aren't enough words to express the gratitude I have for him showing me the way towards forgiving myself and moving on.