To appreciate where you've been and look forward.......
Posted Dec 12 2008 7:08pm
My teens, although I'd rather not traverse that road again, the journey, however difficult, brought me to where I am today and that place is the place I always dreamed of being. My teens were spent trying to deaden the pain of being the child of my parents and the sister of 6 other children. I had been raised to be obedient. I fought their control over me in any and every way I possibly could and when I finished high school, I left home as fast as I possibly could, I enlisted in the Army, I became a WAC.
In my 20's I became a wife and mother of 2 children. I thought I was prepared because I'd helped so much with my younger siblings and other people's children I babysat for - not so, I wasn't prepared for non-stop motherhood. I lost my youth and along with it, the ability to feel like anyone other than someone's mother. We were just starting out and didn't have much except each other and most of the time I was just too tired to care about that. My home was clean and there was always food on the table and clean clothes but I was slipping away from myself.
In my 30's I was still busy raising my family and moving from place to place with my husband's careers. I became involved in every volunteer job I could find, Room Mother, PTA, Girl Scout Everything, Family Support, I even tried (unsuccessfully) to return to school to use my GI Bill. I was lost, I really wasn't Debbie anymore and I wasn't the woman my husband married but I had become an outstanding mother. I made friends with my children's friends mothers and together we built a network to help our children succeed not just as students but as men and women, they were good kids, kind, smart, and safe. I thought I wanted something else during this time but in the end, what I got was far more than I could have imagined.
My 40's left me with empty nest syndrome. I had put my entire adult life up until now into being my children's mother and now they left for college and didn't need me anymore, not for anything except the check book that is. Don't get me wrong, this result is what I had worked for in my 20's and 30's but at the time it was happening I didn't understand. I went back to work and found that I wasn't prepared to put barriers in place to keep my employer from taking advantage of me (which they did). The first job I got in 19 years came on the same day my husband informed me he had been mobilized and would be deployed in 2 weeks for at least a year - OMG, was this really happening? All in all this was good, I was able to throw myself into work while my kids were in college and my husband was off in Europe. I continued to work for 8 more years and another 18 month deployment. In the meantime, both kids had finished undergraduate school and were now in graduate school and medical school.
Zippy Do Dah and I was 50 and feeling pretty damn good. My husband, who, up until now was pretty much a stranger to me was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma. How could this be happening, he was the one that always exercised (I didn't), didn't smoke (I did), how was this happening to him, why was this happening to him? He continued to work using his accumulated sick leave over the next year while he had one kidney and an adrenal gland removed. His Oncologists put him on a new chemotherapy drug that was in pill form, it kicked his ass and 2 years ago he decided he needed to retire (he had the time and the pension, why not). This is when we really started living and got to know one another all over again. We were different people now though 30+ years later, we weren't the same two people that married one another blindly. We were seasoned but together and we knew that together we could face anything. He's been a trooper and has made it through without more cancer for 2 years now. There have been scares and there has been infections due to a compromised immune system but he's still, two years later on the same chemotherapy drug and still cancer free. We travel when we can and spend the time sharing the beautiful scenery, our travel of choice is cruising, we get onboard unpack and sit back to be waited on hand and foot and see a changing panorama throughout the day, everyday of our cruise. We've learned to appreciate our differences and grow closer together. This has been the best time of my life!!
I don't believe that life is meant to be easy, nor is it meant to be hard. We choose the roads we'll travel by the decisions we make and the outlook we choose to travel those roads with. We make our own reality.
I know who I am now and I'm not my parent's daughter nor am I merely my children's mother or my husband's wife, I'm me and I will continue to evolve. I love my life and the people in it, I appreciate where I've been and I look forward to where I'm going.