Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. – Sydney J. Harris
I used to say that there was nothing in my life that I regretted, because every hurdle, tear and smile has made me who I am today.
But there actually is something that I regret………..
When I was in my tween/teen years, I was your typical adolescent. I was caught up in my own little world and I didn’t really want my parents a part of it. My life revolved around my friends. My parents were just around to annoy me and make my life difficult. Yes, your typical teen.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was that while I spent hours alone in my room, ignoring my parents….while I yelled and screamed during fights with my mom and then stomped away, slamming my bedroom door behind me, I was wasting valuable minutes, hours, days, months and years with my mom.
I didn’t take the time to have deep heart to heart chats with my mom. I didn’t take the time to find out what she was like as a teenager. I never heard stories of her adventuresome twenties. I knew a bit about how she and my dad met, but I never took the time to talk about their early years of marriage.
What was it like for her when she was a new mom? What was the craziest thing that she ever did? What were the boys like that she dated? How many times did she have her heart broken? How many times had she been in love?
I do remember, when I was around 15, having a conversation with her about a boy she had once been pretty serious about. He joined the army, went off to Vietnam and was killed. It was very traumatic for her. She always associates the Beach Boys song, Surfer Girl, with that boy. That is probably the only conversation I had with her in those tween/teen years, that gave me a glimpse into my mom’s early years.
My mom has had Multiple Sclerosis for over 20 years. The myelin in her body is being destroyed by the disease. One of the effects of demyelination is memory loss.
My mom doesn’t remember much of her past. Her short term memory is pretty much shot as well. As I have said before, many times when we talk on the phone, she doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t even remember having a daughter. Other times she knows who I am, but has no idea that I have children. Most of the time, I have to remind her repeatedly what my name is.
So all of those questions I wonder about now – about her heartbreaks, her favorite high school memories, her funny new mom stories – will remain unanswered, because I didn’t take the time back then to get to know my own mother.
Thankfully I do have today! She may not be anywhere near the person she was then, but she is still here on this earth. So, I am trying now to make the most of the time that I have left with her. I do still have minutes, hours, days, months and perhaps even years with her, and for that I am so very grateful!