My Mission, part 2

Christina was beautiful and fair; half Caucasian half Mexican with a lot more Spanish blood than Indian. At 16 she ran away from the controlling and prison-like existence her father had imposed upon her. Because her mother had died when she was only seven, and her father had disowned her upon learning of her pregnancy, she had called me, a friend of the family, for support. I went through the pregnancy with her and was at her side for Ally’s birth. When the nurse handed the little whimpering bundle to me, I knew that God was handing her to me. Her tiny brow was furrowed and I gently rubbed her forehead until she relaxed. God was telling me to protect her, to take care of her, and to be there for her. I softly told her that everything was going to be okay, and that I would take care of her. Her father chose not to take responsibility and she had no grandmother so I, having no children of my own, at age 45, asked Christina if I could be Ally’s “grandma”. Christina welcomed the help and the free babysitting.

I did a lot of babysitting and loved every minute of it. I loved Ally as if she were my own. I clothed her, fed her, bathed her, sang to her, and rocked her to sleep. Christina spent almost every weekend with us, so I could look after Ally while she went out to be a teenager. Back in her father’s good graces, Christina had additional financial help and a place to live, and Ally had a grandpa.

Ally was not quite two years old when her mom again encountered the father of her child at a nightclub one evening. She brought him to my house that night to take a peek at their sleeping child, and then arranged a visit for them later that week. He seemed to be happy to have his daughter in his life, and his mother was even happier. After all, Ally was adorable. She was a bright and engaging toddler who warmed the heart of everyone she met. His family fell in love with her instantly and enthusiastically welcomed her into their fold. Incredibly, his wife was gracious and accepting of the child, at which I have always marveled. Whether she was truly a saint or the victim of her domineering, stereotypical Hispanic husband, I am not certain. She had a son only 22 days younger than Ally, which explains why he was unwilling to take responsibility when he learned of Christina’s pregnancy. After several visits I hoped that he would continue to be enough of a presence in Ally’s life to give her the security and connection with her father that every little girl needs. I knew her life would be difficult, and I dreaded the day when she would learn the details of her birth, but as long as her dad stayed in her life, she would know who she was and that she was loved by her father. Christina didn’t see it that way. When she had become pregnant, she was unable to wrangle him away from his girlfriend. She no doubt hoped she could now seduce him with the darling princessa they had conceived together. When that didn’t happen, Christina had little use for her daughter’s father. By now she had met Mr. Charming, a handsome and sensitive man with personality plus and several years her senior, and she cut off all contact between Ally and her father. She told me that Ally had said she no longer wanted to visit her dad, and I believed her.

To Regret Or Not To Admit Regret?

After reading Slidebar’s A Life Without Regret Ain’t No Real Life At All, (see repost) I began to think about all my regrets. Not that I have to read about regretting to be reminded of mine, but Slidebar’s points really hit home with me. I have a ton of regrets. There are some that did not dramatically change my life’s path, and some that did. Though I know that I would not be the same person I am today, had I not been through those regretful experiences, I still wish I had not made some (most) of those choices! Now, I am one to believe that there are consequences to every action, but I also believe that we are supposed to experience certain things in life to become what we are to become, and that those things will happen regardless of the choices we make. After all, if God is God, what sense would it make for humans to have complete and total free will and control over every single aspect of, in, and about our lives?

I admit that I am a recovering perfectionist. I have been admittedly imperfect for nearly 20 years now. Until my recovery began, I did not want to be reminded of my regrets, but I still had them – lots of them. It is interesting to note that back when I was “perfect”, I tended to repeat many (most) of those regrettable choices.

I suppose there are some people who don’t have regrets, or maybe they truly don’t remember their really bad choices. It could be that they are that “glass is half full” kind of people, or perhaps they just haven’t gotten over their perfectionism yet.

Hey, boomers (and beyond) – Check this out. Do you admit that you have regrets?

Slidebar

“It is never too late to become what you might have been.”  ~ George Eliot

I recently arrived at the half-way point in the human lifespan. While reaching this milestone hasn’t given me the desire to go buy a red sports car or have a lurid extra-marital affair, it has prompted a significant amount of thought and reflection.

A “Mid-life Review,” if you will.

I’m not obsessing about it, but I think it’s healthy to stop and consider the state of your life. Are you where you’d hoped you be by now? What have you done? What have you left undone? These are healthy questions to ask. They help you evaluate and make course corrections as needed.

As I go through this process, the word regret seems to cross my mind a lot. Regret is one of those words that’s considered bad, that to regret anything is bad.  People…

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