Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Little Choice

Growing up is hard at best. I wonder if I will know when I finally achieve it.

I try to be the best grandma I can be, but yesterday I was not hitting the mark. My granddaughter is 10 going on 20. Her emotions are on an unknown journey over which she has no control. From the past I know that walking away and letting her cool down is best for both of us. Yet these children of pre-adult age cannot let go of whatever beast has hold of them at any given moment. I know. I was once there.

I feel sorry for the girls. They want to go home to a mom and dad. Now they have two homes and a babysitter. “I just want to be in my own home”. I would, too. We live in a day and age where everyone is looking for happiness, everyone is dissatisfied with life. Really, it’s no different than any other day and age. We just have more freedom to walk away.

I am a divorced woman. Not something I’m proud of. Did I find great happiness after my divorce? Oh, there is a freedom from not cleaning up after someone else, no snoring in my ear, all decisions are made without asking someone else. I grew up more in some ways and lost so much in others. I left to find me. I left because I gave up. I left because I wanted something more. I left because I was empty. But what of my children?

I justified my divorce by saying that my kids would have a happier mom and a happier dad. I didn’t ask if I would have happier children. I assumed. The sparkle that was once my daughter, the worry-free son changed. I changed. I became more self-centered. I began dating and finding that I was no longer a mere housewife but a sexy woman. I used the word “I” more often.

Sometimes I look at my ex and wonder why we didn’t fight harder to save the years we had together. He was my best friend. We have moved on, but we left behind hope for a family and a history that would have us moving from babies to grandparents to toddling on together just because we gave up.

I must be growing up some. I look back at life and wonder at the chopped up periods of my life, my lack of commitment. I thought life would be easier alone. I thought I could find someone to share all of my laughter and joy. One problem: No one else could share my history or have the history with my children. My sister has been married 50 years this November. Paul and she talk about the days on the farm and people they both knew, remembering another time with Mom and Dad. I have no one to go back and remember those who have passed, the first steps of our children, the joy of holding a newborn baby, the first house, the struggles, the victories. I cannot share those now or later with someone else.

This process of growing up is difficult at best. I want my granddaughter to be a fighter. I want her to cherish what she has and to protect it. I worry that she will, too, give up some day. I don’t know how to do this, this helping her through her rough times. She is struggling through a difficult time of growing up with a mountain of pain on her back.

God bless the children for theirs is a life in which they have little choice.

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