I’m propped on the bathroom counter, one leg holding me up, putting on eyeliner, when my daughter nonchalantly walks in and sits down on the closed toilet. I could tell by her serious expression and posture that she had something she wanted to discuss.
“What’s going on, honeybunch?” I ask her, watching her in the mirror watching me.
She shrugs and meets my gaze. It’s obvious she wants to spill but doesn’t know if she should or where to begin.
She continues watching me in silence as I line carefully line my eyes with liquid eyeliner.
She seems fascinated by what I’m doing.
I catch her eye and we smile at each other. I notice how stunningly beautiful she is and how badly she seems to want to talk.
I put down my eyeliner and give her my attention.
“Talk to me.” I say, simply.
“Mommy, if you had a do-over, what would it be?” she blurts out.
I realize that it is a loaded question and I have to be careful how I answer it. I know exactly what she is really asking.
I respond that I would have done better in high school which would have allowed me to go to a better college and I would have been a doctor.
But I know that isn’t what she meant or wanted to hear.
“You wouldn’t have changed marrying my dad?” she has a very serious look on her face which is pleading with me, studying me as she guides the conversation into the direction she wants it to go.
I’m looking right at her, not her reflection anymore.
I tell her no. Because then she wouldn’t be here.
She wants to know if I regret marrying her father.
I smile and softly shake my head no.
She looks at me thoughtfully and seems satisfied with my answer, gives me a kiss and leaves me with my thoughts.
The truth is that I don’t completely regret marrying her dad because I have my two beautiful children from that marriage. But I wish I had listened to my own heart telling me not to walk down that aisle.
But how can I tell my daughter, who SO OBVIOUSLY wants to hear that once upon a time I loved her dad, anything other than what she NEEDS to hear?
I often think about the ‘what ifs”. It’s hard to think about it because, what if i had called off the wedding like I had considered doing, one too many times? My kids, my babies, wouldn’t have been here. Yes, I realize that I would have had kids eventually, with someone else. But I didn’t. I have MY kids.
A do-over would change my entire being. Everything about who I am today.
I can’t “go there”. It makes me sad on so many different levels. It’s like murdering my children and myself.
So instead, I think I’ll just be happy with the direction I consciously took my life and try to fix things that are fixable.
You can’t change the past, right.
You can only hope to make the right choices for the future.
No do-overs. One chance only, leaving you to deal with whatever ramifications those choices bring you.
I look into my reflection, smile firmly and continue putting on my make-up.