Today is the day of grateful and sad memories. I was thinking of a few life altering moments that changed me.
The moment I found out I was pregnant with my first child: The joy was not dimmed by the opinions of others. My youth may have provided me with rose colored glasses but also optimal hope.
The moments I gave birth to my babies: The joy that I was capable of bringing life in to the word was without bounds. Just as is true for so many different things, no one can explain the joy until you experience it for yourself.
The moment I received a phone call telling me my best friend was killed in an auto accident: Last year in therapy I connected the fear of my dying panic attacks to that experience at age 21. I was constantly afraid I would not be there to raise my babies.
The moment I visited my dying grandmother: She was such an important loving presence in my life. The reality of losing her was almost too much to bare. I was so glad she got to know my babies. My obligation to stay in contact with her son died with her.
The moment I had a serious conversation with my grandfather about the pros and cons of marriage in his 80 s: The fact that he trusted me with his feelings and concerns reinforced all the love I felt for him.
The moment I went to the double wedding of bio-dad to wife number three and the second marriage (after more than 50 years) of my beloved grandfather: The oddest part of the day was I immediately despised Gpa’s wife and adored bio-dad’s. Grandpa’s wife was a black widow in every sense of the word. I am still friends with wife number 3 for bio-dad. She wisely has moved on to a loving relationship.
The moment I signed a contract for my “real” teaching job: My spouse was out of work again and I knew we would be OK as I could now support us financially.
The moment I got my master’s degree: I was thrilled to move over to the last pay column. It meant I was better able to provide for my family. I felt the irony that a kid raised in poverty would earn a 4.0 in a master’s program. It was life altering.
The moment I signed the paperwork to begin the divorce: It was so difficult to do, not because it was the wrong thing, but because it went against what I promised myself. After my mom’s 8 marriages I had vowed to stay married until my own children had graduated from high school. I was proud to be finally doing what I should have done 15 years earlier. I made it 18 years and only two years shy of my youngest graduating. Best decision I ever made.
The moment I received my passport: I never had aspirations to travel outside this country but different situations arose and I went for it. I remember talking to my mom about my travels and I wondered if she thought I was crazy. Her response was quite the contrary. She told me to do all the travel why I could, because the future is uncertain. As I think back to all the places I have been, I am grateful I could share my experiences with her. She loved looking at my scrapbooks.
The moments I watched my grand babies being born: I am so grateful I was able to assist in the birthing process. Being a grandparent is even better that being a parent.
The moment I held my mother’s hand as she left this lifetime: I had never been present for anyone’s last breath on earth. I am so glad I was there with my mom for her last week. While it was excruciating being responsible for so many decisions I am glad I could do it for her. I am grateful for her day of lucidity when she told me all her final wants. Not much was going to stop me from fulfilling what she wanted.
The moment I signed the final paperwork to retire: After contemplating retirement for some time, I finally stepped off the edge and made the decision. To stop doing something you have loved for all those years was not easy.
I have had so many truly life altering moments. My thoughts today were of the moments that changed my life. I yearn for hundreds more happy moments. I don’t know how many of them will be life altering. I will gratefully enjoy all the good ones.