Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My kids will do it differently

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. ~Alexander Graham Bell

I've been thinking a lot about the errors in judgment I've made all through out my life. What? Mistakes, me? I know you must be shocked. It's hard to imagine someone as seemingly perfect as myself making any mistake at all. But I assure you dear reader, they exist. To keep this post under a million words, I will omit anything that happened prior to turning 18. Besides anything that happened before then wouldn't be worth mentioning. Here's a few to get started:

Mistake #1- Decided to have sex with a high school friend and long time crush the day he left for college.
Mistake #2- Abortion 2.5 months later. Oh and didn't tell the father until much later.

Mistake #3- Dropped out of college due to depression caused by the aforementioned mistake, used "homesickness" as a cop out.

These really just skim the surface, they are not my only three mistakes ever made, however it gives you an idea. I chose to stop where I did because the more recent stories are prime for future posts. lol But really because it's because I figure that this is a good story to tell.

I hope that I have learned from my mistakes, I feel that I have. There are some (unmentioned) mistakes that I'm still working on, but I take them one day at a time. I can see enough now to look back and think them through rationally and understand that some of the circumstances were beyond my control, or had I made other choices I could have changed the outcome. I now have the knowledge to help my children make empowered decisions. As they say: "My children will do it better than I did."

So the "biggie." I know some of you read this and might be a bit shocked about the "A" word. To be quite truthful I've only told a small handful of close confidants. My own mother til the day she died, had no idea. I never said a word. I was deeply remorseful about the entire situation. I would say it was probably the biggest mistake of my own life. Now, this isn't a political blog, and I do not write to change people's opinions. I am only here to state how it affected me. I am, and always will be, pro-choice. Is it the choice I would make for myself again? No. But I think every woman has the right to choose their own path. Unfortunately for me, I ended up regretting the path I chose, and on this path there is no turning back.

I found out I was pregnant about a week before I was to leave for Seattle. By then the father was long gone. As I mentioned, we did the deed the day he left town... which is the story of my life! lol. I talked it over with my doctor here in town and she gave me the info I needed to know about ALL of my options. She was very helpful and was in no way pursuasive to which direction I should take. Just informative. I found a place in Seattle that would be able to perform the procedure and scheduled it to be done about a month or so after I had started school.

I became very depressed the very day it happened. I had five classes, one 4 hour class every day (Art School). I think I made it to 2, maybe 3 classes a week. The more "difficult" ones, I opted to skip. When I wasn't in class, I was at home locked away in my bedroom (luckily for me one of my roomates dropped out and left me with my own room). If I heard a roomate come home from class or work I would either A: pretend I had just arrived home myself or B: pretend I wasn't home at all and wait til they left before I ventured out.

I cried a lot, I called home EVERY night and basically got kicked out of school. I skipped so many classes that I no longer qualified for my grants and loans because I wasn't maintaining the proper GPA/attendance to earn them. Unless I could pay cash, I would have to leave. The kicker? I had just started to kinda feel normal, had realized I didn't like graphic design and switched to my first love: fashion design. I had even talked to the registrar and actually MADE the changes already... but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I flew home less than a week after learning of my perdikerment.

The source of my pain at the time were a couple of things. One: I felt insanely guilty for not having told the father that I was even pregnant, let alone what I chose to do with that pregnancy. I ended up telling him in a letter just after Christmas break because I just couldn't fathom telling him in person... even though we attended the same parties and gatherings over the holidays. He called me once he had read the letter (I had conveniently sent it to his dorm instead of his Juneau address... you know, so I wouldn't run into him at the store or something) and it turns out he was just ok with me not letting him know. Of course he would have liked to know, but what would he have been able to do out in the midwest when I was in Seattle? In the end he thought it was the choice he preferred, to this day I don't know if he was being honest with me or just trying to appease my hysterics. (As soon as he called I couldn't stop crying for the whole conversation)

And Two: I regretted losing the baby. I regretted not getting to go through the pregnancy and to feel my body changing. Constantly the "what ifs" went through my mind. I made note of when the baby would have been due and for the next couple of years would mentally tick of another year. By the time the baby would have been 4 or 5, I stopped. I still think about it from time to time. Even right after Reagan was born I thought about it quite often for some reason... but it slowly fizzled away to the back of the brain again.

So yeah, I do regret it. With all my heart. Especially now that I know what it's like to hold a precious baby in my arms. That is not to say that every woman will feel this way. So still, I leave it up to each individual to choose their own path. This is something I am going to try very hard to talk to my kids about. I don't agree with the "wait until marriage" concept. I think it is unrealistic in this day and age, and considering my own non-traditional relationship with their father, it would just be hypocritical. I just want to teach my children to be safe and to know they shouldn't be ashamed to talk to their parents, as I was. We are here to help them grow and when they make mistakes along the way I use my own experiences to help guide them to their decision.

I would love to tell my children just don't do it! Don't have sex til you're 30. Even if I say it, it's not going to happen. At least if I educate them and have an open and honest discussion with them about sex and sexuality then maybe my children will make healthier choices for themselves than I made for me. I think the worst mistake a parent can make is to just plainly say "Don't even think about it until you are married" Just don't think about it. Well. That goes against the very nature of a teenager doesn't it? I've never met one that isn't boy-crazy or fawning over the cheerleader (or whatever)... Not only that but our culture is obsessed with it. So to try and stop it from happening without any other explanation other than "it's just wrong, or bad" isn't a very effective method in my opinion. If I just try and ban it from their brains then what can I expect except rebellion?

I know that I have a long time before I need to start discussing the birds and the bees with my little ones, but really the more I think about it, it's not that long at all. Education begins at home, or so I've heard.

I would not change anything I've done. I may regret some things, but I would never actually change the course I've taken to get me to where I am now. I am happier than ever with the two most beautiful babies in my world and their daddy. I have all I need.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A little more meat please...

My last post left me feeling quite empty. I was writing for the sake of filling the void in my blog, and it just felt there was no substance to what I had written and it made me contemplate what I truly wanted out of this blog. As I sit here munching on chocolate covered pretzels, I am still not quite sure what that is yet, but I feel the need to fill the void with some meatier subjects. I thought it was about time that I talked a little more about myself (Don’t worry for those of you who look forward to my plucky comic relief, it’s not going anywhere, and I will upon occasion use silly subjects or updates on the kids when I need a quick posting). So, before you click the mouse to visit the next blog, please hear what I have to say.

Most of you know who I am. And as a person, you know what sorts of things I’ve been through in my life. Or maybe you think you know, but really you aren’t too sure, and never felt the need to press any further for more details. Ok, and just maybe some of you have no idea who I am at all. I’m the kind of person that talks about myself. I’ve never really been closed in emotionally. My childhood was rough at times and even as a young adult wasn't a piece of cake, and I have always been comfortable talking about my problems with anyone that cares to listen. Sometimes I wish that others, especially a few of those closest to me would open up a bit more, one in particular, keeps her emotions bottled up to the point that I think she is going to explode one day. I feel that my comfort level in talking about my past has led me to feel more stable, emotionally speaking. Not 100% stable, but I balance it well.

When my mom passed away last April, I felt myself unraveling, as we slowly started to go through her things (and to this day I still can’t bear the thought of finishing that project, no matter how often my sister reminds me of the task), our goal was to find bits and pieces we wanted to keep of her or share with others at her celebration of life. A few years ago one of my sisters got our mom a journal of sorts, it asked a bunch of questions a lot like, “What was your favorite memory as a child?” My mom actually managed to answer quite a few of them, but it would have been so nice if there was more, especially when I was grasping for something more to hold on to.

Within days of finding this journal and using excerpts from it for her services, I began to ponder what I would leave behind for my own children and other loved ones, should I leave this world sooner than expected. Even if I live to be 100, for that matter, what is it that my children will find comfort in? My art? Maybe. But really most of it was created long before they existed, and while I loved looking at my own mother’s artistic pieces, none of those hit home as much as her own words. So I went to the store and bought a journal. My thoughts are my motivation to fill this journal and maybe more to come after it, with my own words. Let me share with you the first page:

~April 20, 2008~

My earliest memory is a dream I had in which I was sitting next to my Aunt Virginia on a ferry boat. I must have been no older than 3 or 4, and most of the memory is dark with a lot of sepia toned color. I just remember looking up at her and smiling, there is no sound by the way. I don’t know where we are going, all I know is we were going somewhere together. I’d see this image while I slept occasionally, and it was always as if I were looking upon the woman from the child’s perspective. I always knew it was Virginia though. Later as a young adult I found out that she had in fact taken me on a ferry trip to Skagway from Juneau and back again when I was around the age I speculated.

Memories are often great things. They link us to our past, and sometimes they are windows to things we never knew. Occasionally our memories aren’t so great, yet they are apart of us and make us who we are. I’ve chosen to write down my thoughts about my memories for my children, or anyone who chooses to read them. I hope my writings will inspire, enlighten and give knowledge those who read this. These events are told as I remember them, but some of the facts may be inaccurate.

I love my children more than my own life, and if they can learn from me and be better people for it, then I have served my purpose. We all share the same emotions and desires and we all make mistakes from time to time, hopefully we learn from them as they happen. This book is filled with my own mistakes, happy moments, tragedies and really so much more.


It is now March 2, 2009. Almost a complete year since the first entry of that journal. I am sorry to say that the habit of writing in a book has not exactly set in. I haven’t written much since July. I’ve had a lot going on this last year, and now that the new year is well under way, I’m hoping to make a dent in the journal. My plan is to take an entry from time to time and post them on this blog when I see fit.

There is so much more to me than the aforementioned plucky comic relief and silly posts about men in costume, I’m going to try and let a little bit of “me” shine through. Hopefully, you will find this as rewarding as I do.

My Mom

I miss you every day and love you so much!