Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Time Machine

If you could build a time machine, what moments in your life would you revisit? There are a few for me, times from my teenage years, moments from my first marriage, my wedding day with Shane, and the births of our children. If I also had the power to change any of the things that happened during those times there are definitely things I would do over.

As a teenager I would have paid more attention in school, taken my education more seriously, realized that maybe I wasn't so bad after all, that one day someone would love me and make me his wife. I suffered horribly with low self esteem during high school, and could never imagine myself being married or happy. I spent many nights worried that no one would ever love me, that I'd never find a husband and have children, that I didn't deserve the same happiness other people took for granted that they would eventually one day have. I think my self esteem was also reason why I chose not to reach my full potential in my education. I hated being singled out, more often than not I often didn't do as well as I could have because I didn't want the attention, didn't want to be labeled a smart kid. I remember a conversation I had with my guidance counselor during my grade twelve year where she berated me for my poor attendance and low grades. She told me then that my IQ was higher than some of my teachers and that I should be applying myself accordingly. I wish I had listened. That is a definite do-over I wish I had.

In my later teenage years, I wish I hadn't settled for someone who I would spend the next eleven years with, accepting his poor treatment, emotional abuse, and infidelity. I compromised so much of myself and my values for a man who I loved dearly in the beginning and then grew to hate towards the end of our relationship. When I look back, I can't believe some of the hurt and unacceptable behaviour I put up with, believing I didn't deserve anything or anyone better. I think if I could go back and change that part of my life, I would start at the beginning and then simply walk away from it all. I don't know where I'd be today if that was the case, but I definitely wish I could turn back time and erase all those years of hurt and the feelings of degradation because I allowed myself to be treated that way.

As for my wedding day to Shane, I would go back just to feel it all again. It was one of the most amazing days of my life. I loved our wedding. We were poor, didn't have enough for a big fancy wedding but we made the most out of our situation and had a beautiful day. We were disorganized and just winging it for most of the day but it was so much fun. I enjoyed our wedding day so much, and I was so happy to be marrying someone who truly loved me and wanted to spend his life with me. As we danced the first dance together, I remember feeling "So this is how it's supposed to be..." so happy and incredibly in love.

With Lorelei's birth the only thing I would change would be to go back and get on antidepressant mediaction long before I actually did. The first ten months of her life I was so anxious and afraid that something would happen to her that I developed OCD, repeatedly checking her breathing ten to fifteen times a night. By the time I finally sought help, I was a wreck and my relationships with extended family were in chaos. I didn't trust anyone with my daughter except Shane, afraid that because no one could love her like we did that something would happen if I left her with family for a night out. I deeply regret not recognizing the signs and symptoms of post partum depression and the hurt it caused not only our family but myself.

As for Calvin and Georgia's birth, if I could go back with the knowledge that my son would die, I would have taken more time to spend in the ICU. I would have made the most of every moment I had with him and insisted that we do some of the things I never got the chance to do. I wish I would have breastfed Calvin, spent some time skin to skin with my beautiful baby, giving him the cuddle time that Georgia was getting back up in my room. I wish I had insisted that Georgia be allowed to come down to the ICU and get some pictures with her brother before his surgery, before he was actually dying. I deeply regret that the only pictures I have of my babies together was when Calvin was removed from life support and he was barely clinging to life. Although the pictures are beautiful in their own way, it's clear that he is near death and not concious of what is going on around him. I wish I had undressed him and looked at his little body naked, turned him over and run my hands over his bum and back. I wish I could have changed even one diaper. I also would have insisted that he be undressed and skin to skin with Shane and I as he left this world, snuggled naked with us like the day he was born. I would have told him a thousand more times how much I love him, would have kissed him a million times more. I would have spent more time holding him in the morgue until I was at peace with letting him go and accepting that it would be the last time I held him. I was left feeling that I didn't hold him enough by the time the funeral director drove down to pick him up and that feeling continued up to and after his funeral. I wish I could go back and do it over with the knowledge that I would only have six days and instead of worrying that he might die, made the most of my time with him while he was here...

It's a nice thought anyways, the dream of going back and fixing things you regret, the feeling of living over the best days of your life. Too bad life isn't really like that.

1 comment:

  1. I think we all have things we'd like to revisit or do over.
    As far as the feeling that you didn't hold him enough, of course you didn't. You were supposed to hold him for a lifetime. The time before a child dies is never enough, hence the magnitude of that loss.
    Calvin is very precious. I'm so sorry you didn't get enough time. I know you did all you could with what you had to deal with. You were his mom, and you loved him and he loved you too!
    Much Love