Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Retrospective

Holidailies is allowing posts every 8 hours right now for those of us who need to catch up, and I'm taking advantage of it, since I am 2 posts behind.

There is a lot of reminiscing about the past decade across the internet right now, and it's making me think.  Won, in particular, with her newest post.  My first inclination is to say I've done very little in the past 10 years, but I'm sure that's not true of anyone.  It's nearly impossible to remain static for that amount of time, I'd think.  After giving it a few minutes thought, I realized that I've had some amazing changes in the past 10 years.

December 31st 1999 - I was still married to an abusive man, though living with S, having made my escape only 2 1/2 months before.  I was still scared of my own shadow, utterly submissive, afraid that having an opinion of my own would only lead to pain.  It would still be months before S was able to start coaxing that out of me. 

Nobody called me Mommy.  I'd wanted children my whole life, but had more or less given up on them.  My ex was sterile, and with the life I was living, it wouldn't have been fair to bring a child into it anyway.  It didn't make me want it any less, I just knew it wasn't a good idea and wasn't likely to happen.  Of course, a new husband and new life can really change things.  Lexie was born in May of 2001, on my 25th birthday.  The very best birthday present I have ever had.  Then Christopher, and Joshua.  Learning to be a mother, that it's more than kisses and hugs and diaper changes.  Having to face my own insecurities so as not to give them to my children, having my flaws stare me in the face every time I worry I've made the wrong decision.  Fighting for them, and finding out that being strong for them makes me stronger for myself as well.  Rediscovering joy and innocence and the beauty of life through their eyes, seeing a lot of the things I missed the first time around.

In December of 1999 I hadn't spoken to my family in over 2 years.  When I finally did, I was so desperate to be loved and accepted that I didn't stand up to my mother at all, on anything.  I accepted her word as truth, and prostrated myself before her, always apologizing.  Now, I know better.  I know that *I* am better than that.  I refuse to let her make me feel guilty anymore for things that were not my fault, for her lies and half truths.  I take what I can from the relationship and try to let the rest go.  It's still a work in progress, but I have made incredible progress.

I've spent 9 1/2 of the past 10 years being a wife.  Not always a good wife.  That too has been a learning process.  A growing and changing one.  As S and I have evolved as people, our relationship has, by necessity, also evolved right along with us.  From the skittish, nervous little girl who hid in the corner expecting the worst, to the more confident, opinionated me now.  I had to learn what a healthy relationship felt like, that it was okay to trust, and how to recover when that trust is broken.  How to be supportive, and be supported.  That an argument doesn't mean fists, or that the relationship is over.  How to depend on each other through hard times.  None of that was something I came into this knowing.  I think we've both gotten much better at it through the years, though I am sure there is always something new to learn as we both continue to grow.

So tonight, as 2009 draws near to a close, I am thinking more about where I've been, and who I've become in the last 10 years.  I've come to the conclusion that I have done an amazing amount of learning, changing and growing in this decade.  And that I think I like who I am becoming.  My hope for the next decade is that I say the same thing in 10 more years.

4 comments:

won said...

Oh heck yes. The growth that you write about over the last decade is huge. And I have a feeling there is even more; that you've really just shared some of it.

I applaud you for that. The learning curve sounds like it's been huge.

I never knew Lexie was born on your birthday. What an amazingly cool birthday present you got!! No need to exchange that one...EVER.

Keep going on your posting goals. You'll get there, one post at a time. And thanks for the linky love!

Bella said...

I agree, life is a journey and a learning experience. Here's to the next decade--don't think about growing older, just growing wiser!

Robin in Montana said...

The paragraph you wrote about learning to *be in a relationship, that an argument doesn't have to mean fists, or the end, strikes home for me more than you know, and moved me to tears. You give me hope and renewed affirmation that I did the right thing by leaving and that where I am now truly is a good thing, not just another foot waiting to stomp. I wish you and yours the absolute best for the coming year!

Southern Woman said...

What a lovely post! And what a long way you've come! I'm happy to know you.

 

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