If Walls Could Talk…

…what would they say? Or better yet, if *my* walls could talk…what would *they* say?

This was a concept that was brought up between my longest known best friend and myself when we had a rare visit today. While the conversation about it was very short and actually not a reference for what I’m about to write about here, my immediate reaction to thinking about the question made me a little queasy as my mind went to negative thoughts first.

You see, while I’ve been incredibly quiet over the last several months, it’s not been because life has been unbelievably busy with happiness. I’ve been going through several big life changes going on at once. One of those changes is that my oldest child not only turned 18, but he decided he wanted to be independent and move out. Talk about a momentous occasion…

I have a very clear memory of when my boy was a brand new, tiny infant and I was upset because someone had hurt my feelings. As I clutched my happily sleeping, milk-drunk newborn to my chest and tears fell into his feathery blond hair, I remember wanting so fiercely to protect him from all hurts in life. I had felt maternal and protective over him since early in my pregnancy, but this was the first moment I clearly remember so desperately wanting to guard and protect his heart more than I’d ever wanted something before in my life. The love of a parent is strong.

In the blink of an eye, my doe-eyed, sweet baby boy turned into a tall, handsome grown man–a strong-willed, stubborn one at that. While he knew that I wanted him to wait for a while to move out (and for all good reasons), he was itching to be out on his own and made the choice to pack up anyway.

He’s my oldest so this is the first time I’m experiencing this momentous mommy occasion. Not only that, but it’s a big realization that my other kids that stair-step down immediately in age are right behind him. With my youngest being almost 16, I’m not all that far from having an empty nest. This is a big deal for any parent, but it’s even more so for me. You see, I’ve been a mama with kids in the home since I was still just a kid myself. I went from being a kid in my mom’s home to being a mom and wife before I was even 18. All I’ve known of adult life is parenting. It’s a whole new me and life in the process of transition right now and so many emotions that go with it.

Going through this, I’ve struggled lately with feeling weight of guilt and grief over ways that I have made mistakes over the years. I carry hurts collected over the years in ways that I’ve failed. As parents, we all know that we aren’t perfect and that we are bound to make mistakes. But being faced with the reality of how my time is up with my boy being a kid in my home and there are no more chances of parenting him in that aspect has been a hard pill for me to swallow.

All of this thinking lately has had my heart so very tender. So today, thinking about if my walls could talk, I immediately thought of my mistakes and dark and hard moments. I started turning it all around in my head though as soon as my friend left. Have there been mistakes? Have there been regrets? Have there been moments I wish I could take back? Absolutely. Is all that stuff what my walls would talk about though…?

We are often our own worst critics. I’m no exception there. Thinking about my children’s lives up to this point though, I’ve had some amazing moments too. I have overcome battles that many succumb to. I have lived life as a single mom for many years, often with very little financial support from anyone else, without my children’s father’s presence, without family checking on me and lending a hand, and often even while working two jobs. I have cared deeply about my babies and what they’ve had in life. I’ve struggled and fought hard, but…I’ve been fighting a winning fight. My children have been provided for and have turned into these teenagers that regularly blow me away with their kindness, helpful attitudes, and gentle spirits. They have been the kind of kids that regularly get compliments for being good kids. I can be hard on myself, but I then have to remember that it’s not just chance. My babies are good people because of the work I’ve put in and done right.

I love my kids more than I love having air to breathe, and I’ve never been shy about expressing that. Their whole lives, I’ve made sure to assure them of my love, both with my words and my actions. I have freely handed out “I love you’s,” hugs, and kisses. My kids have never had to question whether or not they are important to me. I fail daily because I’m human, but I also do right every single day.

If these walls could talk, they *could* talk about “unspeakable mommy moments” as another girlfriend of mine calls them. They could talk about mistakes, tempers lost, dirty dishes that have stayed stacked in the sink for too long, carpets that went too long without seeing a shampooer, and laundry that did three go-’rounds in the washer due to failure to get them into the dryer before they smelled sour. They could talk about endless times where pizza was bought for dinner because I’d rather pay for food to be delivered than to cook after working 12 hours in steel toed boots and coveralls in 20 degree weather, the times I’d skipped a shower in favor of just falling into bed in exhaustion, or times I’d rather toss leftover food-filled Tupperware dishes than to wash moldy spaghetti sauce out. I could easily write a thousand words here on my mistakes or poor moments. Is that truly what my walls would talk about though…?

I don’t think so.

My walls would speak of love and determination. They would speak of a strong family bond. They would speak of kids that grew up knowing their mother loves them unconditionally and would lay her life down to protect them if need be. My walls would speak of dance parties in the kitchen while cooking, silly sing-song voices being goofy when we’re alone together, loving life lessons being taught about growing up, and laughter–SO. MUCH. LAUGHTER.

I have never claimed to be perfect, and this post isn’t about boasting. I’ve decided though, while I fall short, my walls would glow talking about a family that is fierce, strong, and united. My walls would talk about what life and parenting all boils down to… Love. My walls would *proudly* speak of love.

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Back to Where I Began From

I’ve had a love of writing for almost as long as I’ve know how to. Journaling, poetry, and essays have kept me sane. It only makes sense for me to start my first blog. Whether anyone reads it or not, I feel an overwhelming need to purge my soul by putting my written words out into the universe.

But where do I begin? How do I choose what to write about? What is currently on my heart…..?

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I wanted to be a mom since I was a little girl. I always knew I would have children. What I did not know was how I would have so many, so young.

In 1999, at 15 years old, I struggled with my self-esteem. I struggled with knowing who I was and what my place was in the world. I was lonely, hurting, and confused. Of course, I knew a baby would just fix all of that for me. Even with that insane desire, I was shocked when the woman entered the Planned Parenting office room at the end of that September day and said my test was positive. She must have thought I was crazy because I have a face that cannot lie and my emotions are always clearly written in my expressions. She must have known I was happy about this result.

I left with some pamphlets and booklets and proof of pregnancy in hand. I’m sure I was beaming. I didn’t think about how I didn’t even live at home (since I’d been kicked out several weeks prior). I didn’t think about how my teacher that I was living with would react. I didn’t think about how in that one instant, my entire life, my path, my future, my everything was suddenly altered. All I thought about was the little life growing inside of me and how more than anything, I wanted to be a good mommy to my baby. I just didn’t know yet how hard that would be.

So two weeks before my 16th birthday, I announced to those around me that I was with child and that no matter what anyone said or did, I was keeping it. I dreamed of baby names, cute baby clothes, and snuggling a delicious smelling newborn that was all mine. What I did NOT think about was everything beyond that. I didn’t think about school struggles. I didn’t think about puberty. I didn’t think about teenage attitude and defiance. I didn’t think about those things, but I am now living smack dab in the middle of them anyway.

I worry about my son. I worry that I set my child (and other children) up for hard lives of their own because of my own choices. They have lived through poverty and very young parents that didn’t know what they were doing. They have seen their father abuse their mother, and they have seen their father under the influence of a variety of drugs and alcohol. They have endured horrific circumstances that I’m not yet ready to write about. They have endured their parents’ divorce, moving, and starting life over from scratch.

Until now, we made do with what we had and my children have been fairly well adjusted and happy souls. Then enters puberty and extreme hormones. My son, C, has made troubles for himself. Failing in school, becoming violent at home, ending up court involved, and taking off after school and doing who knows what for hours on end when he’s supposed to be home. It’s hard to deal with as a parent. I cry. I try to talk to him about his choices now can affect his entire life. I continue to push him to follow the rules and to do his school work, but ultimately, I have no control over his choices. So I worry, I stress, and I grieve. I feel extreme guilt over how my choices impacted his life. I fear for where he is headed. I hurt for what I learned too little too late and cannot fix. I cry hot tears into my pillow and lay awake for hours at night thinking of where I have gone wrong and how badly I wish I could go back in time and change it.

For those that say they wouldn’t change anything in the past in life because it makes one who he or she is today, I call bullshit. There is so much that I would change if I could. Because now, my heart aches Every. Single. Day.