It still amazes me how much power our childhood has over us as adults. But even more so the mystery in saying to my French boyfriend this morning: “I wouldn’t change anything about my life.” (Now in my seventh decade.)
I love that I grew up in Ithaca, NY, left for ten years, and returned to live here. That I live in an 1840s house divided into four apartments, mine with a huge picture window viewing a long field, a large pond, and a wide forest behind where coyotes howl near midnight. (I have owned two homes previously.)
That I am a dancer still dancing 4-5 nights per week. That I work part-time and control my schedule so I can dash to Paris/Nogent once per month to be with my French boyfriend, Antoine. (In his third decade.)
Yet, one decision I made as I raised two beautiful daughters mostly as a single mom, I regret. Erin is 15 and Megan is 12 when we return from a month of traveling cross-country – in a rusty 150,000 odometer van – to camp and hike in many National Parks with which I have a love affair.
A new boyfriend had been kicked out of his ex-girlfriend’s trailer with no viable living situation available. I wasn’t really wanting him to move in but felt sorry for him and also unconsciously probably was afraid to say no and lose him. When I told Erin; she cried and said NO! I called her dad who lived 30 miles away and he came to our home to talk with us. I can still visualize the red sofa in our living room, and hear her father say, “Your mom has a right to her happiness.” I am sad as I write that I couldn’t be there, empathetic enough for my daughter’s feelings and needs.
Even though I was a green (one year graduate) Marriage and Family Therapist at the time; I hadn’t grieved enough of my own childhood pain to put my child’s emotional needs first. Erin and I have been to therapy together (in the late 80s) and apologized; but it wasn’t until one of my primal therapy sessions (in the late 90s) that I connected with a past life where I saw myself kill Erin (my daughter then too), during the Crusades. As unbelievable as this sounds to many, it was that session that helped me accept Erin’s distrust of me; her present friendly distant relationship with me.