1. I wish I had more videos of our family of five.
Christmas mornings, vacations at the shore, singing silly songs and dance parties before bed.
A year has come and gone and the youngest no longer remembers what it was to have a father in the house. The older two serve as her memory keepers.
If we had those videos I would play them back and remind her of the joy we shared under this roof and the one before it.
2. I wish in those early fall days of 2013 that I would have dropped everything, scooped those girls into my arms and whisked them away.
Our world had fallen apart but I felt the need to continue making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches;
to watch toddlers tumble at gymnastics and keep big girls on task with homework.
I was focused on keeping things as “normal” as possible when really all my babies needed was the acknowledgement that everything wasn’t normal, that life would not be the same.
They needed to move into this next phase in the loving embrace of my arms far removed from the rest of what life was throwing at them.
3. I wish I would have believed the woman and men who walked before me and told me it would be ok.
How many times did I brush them off with angry disregard? How dare they tell me that life would get better when the pain was so deep and the void between here and there so wide, so vast.
But experience is the ultimate teacher.
They were right.
We are here now and life is full.
4. I wish I had apologized less in my marriage and in my divorce.
Years spent saying I was sorry when I wasn’t.
Pushing out the words so no feathers were ruffled.
The middle child, always the pleaser, and even in the pain of separation and divorce still apologizing for wrongs she did not commit.
Apologizing for things said and not said;
for stains on shirts;
for bags under eyes;
for little girls emotional outbursts.
No apologies were needed.
We were just living.
5. I wish I had forgiven myself sooner.
I look back now and realize the pain I brought upon myself.
How angry I was at my own imperfection.
How could I let this fail?
I wish I had looked myself in the mirror and acknowledged the reflection of this beautiful child of God.
I wish I would have forgiven her with the same immediate love and forcefulness I do my own children.
And so here we are now.
A year from there.
As hard as the words are to type,
I am grateful for the darkness,
for the regrets,
for the learning’s of it all.
I can now see the stars.