I would have
- known my mother better. There are so many questions I’d like answered. What did she like the most about being a mother? What was her most frustrating moment? Her saddest? What memory did she treasure the most? If given the opportunity, what career would she have wanted?
- not argued with my dad two months before he died.
- found a better way to communicate with both my parents so I could hear the words “I love you.” They signed birthday cards “love, Mom and Dad” but I don’t remember hearing the words. And I would have found a way to say good-bye before they died.
- sought out relatives or other adults to be mentors in the absence of my parents. I was too stubborn and too determined to stand on my own feet, but I needed guidance and an elder’s wisdom.
- paid more attention at school and practiced better study habits.
- worked better at saving money throughout my whole life.
- treated myself with more respect and dated better guys.
- found other ways to communicate with my first husband in order to persuade him to seek help for his anger. I tried, but too late. And my message didn’t resonate. Maybe no message would have. I won’t say I would have married someone else because that would mean giving up my four daughters. I cannot imagine my life without them, in the past or present or future.
- walked away from the marriage when my girls were younger. All that anger and abuse caused more harm than I understood.
- worked smarter at being a good mother, using more effective messages to prevent daughters stumbling onto bad life paths.
- made wiser career decisions.
What I have done, am doing, and will do…
- told my children “I love you” every time I put them to bed as children, and tell them every time I say good-bye now that they are adults.
- answered any and all of their questions about my life, about their lives, about anything really. I have always done this and always will. If I don’t know an answer, I don’t make up one.
- find ways to be in the lives of my grandchildren, even though we don’t live close to each other.
- learn to accept my faults, to let go of guilt or shame I have for not being a better person.
- learn to accept the faults of others.
- strive to be a better mother, wife, friend.
- communicate more effectively in all aspects of my life.
- learn to count my blessings.
- have prayed, am praying, will pray.