Which way do I turn?

This post will be a bit jumbled. Mainly because I am feeling a bit jumbled. 

Backwards, forwards or slap dab in the middle. I’ve been everywhere the past few days and I am not sure which way to turn. 

Moving forward isn’t possible. The future, even a week, is just uncertain. Changes in my career-changes out of my control-are inevitable. It will probably be okay.   It might be fine. It is possible my hard work and dedication make me safe. Maybe. But no matter what happens it will be different. 

A world I’ve known for 15 1/2 years stopped existing a few days ago and a new one is on the horizon. I just don’t know what it looks like yet. So looking ahead, looking forward is a bit daunting. 

That place, that work–for better or for worse-has been my identity for a long time. It’s consumed me. And now that-even if it does still exist-will be different then what I’ve known. 

This weekend I was solidly in the middle. In the middle of proud excitement and disappointing despair. My son and daughter were at opposite ends and I was there, in the middle, trying my best to navigate. 

The boy came in first place in all 4 of his district races advancing to state. He achieved a long awaited personal goal and swam his IM in under a minute. It was exhilarating to watch him succeed. 

My hard working daughter swam the exact same 4 events. Top 3 advance to state. She was seeded second in HER IM but finished 5th. I saw her sob by herself af the edge of the warm up pool. She’s at the top of her age group so, if she were going to make her goal of an individual medal it would be this year. Despite only starting to swim in the last week of May and missing 2 weeks–she expected to make her mark this year. 

My daughter doesn’t take failing lightly. I don’t see 5th as failing. She does.

My son swam a remarkable race and came in first in his backstroke. 

Remember that the top 3 advance…my daughter came in 4th in her race. Her hopes were dashed. Her splotchy face, the slump of her shoulders and the weight of her head as it hung low will haunt me for a long time. 

One proud and achieving his goal. One dejected and not achieving hers. And I was in the middle. And that is not a place a mother wants to be. 

This weekend my mom handed me a box. A box I haven’t seen since I graduated from college. There were several books, 2 BEST ACTRESS trophies from my college days and a box of pictures. Going trough the pictures I looked back. 

This next statement will sound…I don’t know what it will sound like but it will be abnormal for me to discuss. In the box were pictures. I know I’ve said that. I am building up to what I want to say. There were pictures, of me, that caught me a bit my suprise. Here it goes…I wasn’t ugly. I wasn’t the awkward creature I always think of myself as. There were college headshots that showed a strong jaw and pleasant features. There were pictures from a drama banquet. I was slim in a black, sequined sheath. I have never, ever, ever thought of myself as slim and trim. But I was. 

In the pictures I was flirty, I looked vivacious and happy. I looked confident. I looked like a felt…like I felt like I belonged–like I owned the night. 

So, looking back, looking at a me I don’t think I’ve ever imagined…I wonder how different things would have been if I’d known that I wasn’t plain or fat or awkward and odd? What choices would I have made if I didn’t think I didn’t belong? Would I have taken that summerstock role I was offered? Would I have said yes to that date or no to the boy who kept me on standby? Would I have taken the world by storm instead of being afraid to take chances? Would I have believed I was talented and continued to act? 

I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on regrets. Mainly because my mistakes have put me here, in this place, in my life which my incredible babies and a nice life. But looking at those pictures I did spend a little time looking back and wondering….

I also remembered what color my hair was naturally. That was a shock. Made me, for a moment, wonder if there were pieces of my past I would be better served revisiting. 

So I tried to be in the moment. In the now. But my now had me chauffeuring my beautiful young girl and her beautiful friend on a double date with the son of a man I grew up with…seeing her with her hair curled, the spark in her eye and the happiness at the touch of freedom…even the being in the moment was uncomfortable. 

So I am not sure which way to turn. Looking back haunts me a touch. Looking ahead scares me. Standing in the middle breaks my heart. Being in the now  makes me ache a bit. 

So…which way to turn?


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