What if I was wrong then?
That I didn’t remember that children don’t do what you say, they become who you are.
What if I couldn’t remember that shame programs start in our formative years?
Until like last month, I was at the beach reading in my beach chair under my pink umbrella. Two young boys, maybe two and four years old, were playing with toys in the sand.
The older one hit the younger one until he started to cry.
The mom rushed over to the 4-year-old, squeezed his arm, sat him down squarely in his chair. And, yelled, “Stop that, why are you acting like a 2-year-old?”
The boy was all excited then I saw his body slump like a deflated balloon while his mom tended to his baby brother.
What if I was wrong then? What if I didn’t know the full story? What if I didn’t know that the story isn’t over once the papers are signed?
Or that feelings are for feeling and unfelt feelings just keep cycling until we stop pushing them down.
Or that my overwhelm changes the way I breathe.
Or how I hold my eyes.
Or how I carry my chest.
Maybe I was wrong or just didn’t realize my body ached because I shoved my feelings down.
I didn’t know it’s okay not to know. What if I was wrong then?
Like when I took my dad off the pedestal and made him an equal and grew up.
I didn’t know that it would take years to relearn how to reparent myself.
I didn’t know that it wasn’t just the marriage that I was lashing out against. What if I was wrong and I didn’t know how to let him have his own experience of me without me needing to control it.
Maybe I felt silenced from him. Maybe his bucket was just full. That there was just no more room for it not to spill over.
Maybe I made this whole thing up about me. Maybe I knew I would cling onto anything. Maybe I couldn’t accept that the walls of my marriage were crumbling.
So, I took two years out of my life to allow the loss to deepen me.
There’s no way you can be four years old until you’re four. And there’s nothing wrong with being four years old acting like a two-year-old.
It doesn’t make you bad.
Two years after twenty-seven years is nothing to take out of my life.
I wasn’t wrong because here’s the thing. A marriage and growing never ends.
Is it worth it?
And here’s my most joyous arrival. Now, today, I have compassion for that boy on the beach who is still a man and that mom who is still me.