Sometimes I think about how I could have been a better mom to my kids or I could have made different decisions in my life, but then I realize I truly did the best I could. There were times I wondered, but now it’s clear that my kids all turned out okay. In fact, now they’re my friends — my oldest Stevie just turned 41 and Megan will be 30 in September. Where did the years ago? They’re all self-sufficient, awesome individuals who are quite different and unique. Jeremy, my wild child, has three adorable kids, my grandkids, who remind me of my kids and of the generations. It’s my “payoff” in a weird way for raising all these kids. Well, that’s what I say. He’s the only one of my children who has kids. Melissa is thirty-nine and loves being mother to everyone but prefers to be an Auntie. She’s in nursing school! Stevie, age 41, never married but he has a current girlfriend and an ex-girlfriend and he’s living life to its fullest despite being on dialysis. He drags his equipment with him on adventures — he now tells everyone that I am the older version of him. That trips me out. He lives here in Oregon. Jeremy lives and works in Lake County, California and has three kids — he co-parents two of them and one he has with his current fiancé Erika. What is it with my boys and exes and currents? Oh well! As long as everyone is happy.
I was just in California visiting my grandkids a couple of weeks ago. They were all three at the cabin where Jeremy lives. Jeremiah is 11 now and already acting like a pre-teen and Charlotte and Isaak turned five and four while I was there — I love my Leo grandbabies, just like their Grandma Mary!
Hanging out with them reminded me of when I had a bunch of kids, and we did everything and went everywhere. I never had any help. Jeremy is such a good dad and helps a lot. I’m grateful for that. I begged him never to be a “dead beat dad,” and he listened. We both even cried over it. Now that I’m 65 and I don’t live with the kids, I wonder how the heck I did it all those years. How can I regret anything when I was in survival mode? How did I deal with two kids crying at Walmart because they want a toy? Erika is patient with them, perhaps I was too. Or maybe not?
The back to school photos that popped up on Facebook yesterday made me smile. Jeremiah starts sixth grade, and he didn’t look too ecstatic about it. Like it’s just another year. Charlotte, my fun, sunny confident granddaughter, looked apprehensive, almost downright scared. She began Kindergarten yesterday. She had always gone to a babysitter from the time she was a baby but had not attended preschool. Poor little girl. I felt bad for her and wished I could be there to tell her it was all going to be okay. I remembered all the first days of schools with my kids, which seemed to last forever. They were usually a big deal until high school of course. I remembered how my older daughter Melissa cried her eyes out in the hallway and wouldn’t go into the classroom. We had to coax her in, and then she was okay. The other three kids loved it and pranced right in.
I leave the first days of school to the next generation. I will continue to be the fun grandma who lives in Oregon with her boyfriend and her 16-year-old cat. I will come visit and I’ll be the special guest and the grandma who takes the kids on adventures and sings songs with them and let them have toys at the store if they want because that’s what fun grandmas do.
And I have no regrets.
By Paul DeLong
On August 24, 2022
Lovely family chronicle, and if you live with no regrets, you are truly blessed!