This Isn’t What You Signed Up For

August 1st already?!?! I’m seeing back to school commercials on TV and posts all over the place about people’s family vacations over the summer.   How do those make you feel?

Often, if I’m honest with myself, I can feel a stab of envy when I see a post of a family with kids going on a trip to see extended family.  I imagine it’s an amazing family reunion with quality time spent with the kids, watching the cousins play together and bond. You get the idea…I’m envious they still have all their children to go on vacation with, that they can watch their children (all of their children) bond with their cousins and other family.  I see the back to school commercials and wish I had the chance to do school shopping through all the years of K- 12, or now the prepping for college trip with Alison.

But here’s the thing.  I can acknowledge that envy, the twinge of sadness that sometimes arises as well and when I do I sit with it. Then I move through it.  I remember the family vacations we did take. Yes, they were fun and kids got to bond.  They were also stressful, the kids bickered and asked, “Are we there yet?” at least 5,132,893 times in two hours, and I often wished I could leave the husband (now ex) at home.  And as for the school shopping…no matter how early you go, you can’t find the color of binder that Johnnie just HAS to have, or the right markers as detailed by the teacher.  And when you do get your basket loaded and waited through the 3 hour check out line, the total comes up to 5 times as much as you budgeted.

And of course, I would absolutely love to have all that hassle and stress back if it meant having Alison here again. Don’t get me wrong.  I also just caution against romanticizing the past or the could have beens.  Life is imperfect.  And it can’t be undone.  We are where we are.  It isn’t what we signed up for, but it is where we are at.

So, yes I find it immensely important to acknowledge and honor those feelings of wistfulness, envy, whatever else AND find gratitude in where I am today, love for those who are in my life, and opportunities for growth.

Most of all, I am happy with how my days are spent and with whom they are spent. It isn’t the life I planned, but it is a good one, a damn good one.  If I hadn’t gone through the hell I have, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I recognize that last paragraph might be a hard one for some bereaved parents to agree with, it may even offend some. I challenge you to ask yourself why it’s bringing up strong emotions in you.  And if you’d like to share them with me I’d love to hear them! Or maybe you aren’t feeling good about life but you’re ready to, I’d love to hear from you too.
Peace and aloha,

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