No Regrets

“You want to be a pilot?  Well, are you training to be a pilot?   Are you studying to be one?   Are you doing anything that is helping you to accomplish that dream?  No?  Well, then you’re just living a fantasy.”

Those were the words spoken at a high school graduation I attended on Friday night.   I call myself a writer, but I was just asked by a friend over the weekend how my writing was going.   We don’t see each other that often, since she lives out of town, but we both share a love of writing and a love of books.  Apparently, she is, or I should say was, a reader of my blogs and she noticed I hadn’t written in a while, a month to be exact.   “Well, you do have two boys.  You’re hands are full,” she said eager to make me feel not guilty for not writing.   She’s right, but being a mom is no excuse for not still finding some time for me.

Thursday I listened to a news report on Morley Safer.   The veteran reporter, an original of CBS’ 60 Minutes had passed away.   Being the dork that I am, and always have been, I love news programs and 60 Minutes is one of my favorites.   I had recorded the special from the previous Sunday, which was a story on basically the life of Morley Safer.   I listened to his news reports from Vietnam, how he had once occupied the same desk as Edward R. Murrow (whose reporting from WWII I would love to hear), and got a glimpse of his office at 60 Minutes.   He still used an old typewriter and wrote stories in a manner of Hemingway.   His words were melodic and could put you right into the scene.   You could smell the surroundings just from the words he used.

Years and years ago, my dream was to be a journalist.   I didn’t want to be on television.   No offense to any of my former colleagues, but television reporting is too froo froo.   The story seems to be lost in all of the graphics and commercialization of television.   No, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter.   My idols were Woodward and Bernstein.  I wanted to be a writer, but for various reasons in my life (mostly immaturity and a lack of discipline)I never followed through with that dream, and now it is a regret.

Over the weekend, my husband and I also attended a memorial service for a former friend and teammate.   We were told stories of our friend and how he followed his dreams, at times perhaps with the occasional regret, but he was doing what he loved.   All of this has weighed heavily upon me and while I try to not have regrets, I worry about whether my boys may encounter this.

I go out of my way, sacrificing of myself, to make sure my boys experience everything.   I want them to be able to do everything they want to do, so that one day they don’t wake up and say, “I regret not taking the time.”

For me, I regret not writing for my college newspaper.   I regret not being more involved with the political parties at my school.  I regret not taking the opportunity of a research assistant for a book (which has been published and without me) more seriously.   I regret taking all of these opportunities for granted and thinking to myself, “no worries, Amy, another opportunity will come along.”

My boys are 4 & 2.   Perhaps they are too young for me to worry about taking things for granted.   Perhaps they won’t be like me and just assume that everything will be there tomorrow.   I don’t regret being their mother.   My life may not have been the way I had originally imagined it to be, but it is an exceptional life and not a fantasy.

I may have missed my chance to be the next great journalist or writer.   I may have forfeited an opportunity to write briefs for the State Department, but I have new opportunities presenting themselves daily.

We all have regrets.   Morley Safer said he felt guilty for being gone months on end on assignment while his daughter grew up.   He stopped short of saying he regretted what he had done.   I’m thankful to have the opportunity to be at home with my children as they grow.   I now just need to find a way to still carve out time for me and not beating myself up for what I perceive to be my shortcomings and failures.   They’re all superficial and callous, but they are what make me who I am and there is still a strong sense of determination to at least make my children not experience their regrets to the level I still do


Dinner Party Conversations

This past Saturday, my husband and I waded into waters that we thought had long since dried up for us.  Since having kids, there’s been a bit of a drought of sorts with our entertaining schedule and our ability to have adult conversations with others.  A couple of weeks ago, we decided we would host a small, intimate dinner party at our house.  We planned it for 7:30, so that our boys could meet some of our adult friends, but they would then go to bed at 8:00, thereby leaving my husband and I with the opportunity to discuss things other than the color of snot, the size of poops, the dribble drabble of baby talk, and the words that spring forward from our kids’ mouths.

Last week, with each approaching day, I became more and more giddy at the thought of seeing some of our old friends, but I also became nervous.   Why was I nervous?  Because I feared that I may be incapable of contributing to the conversations if they didn’t swirl around my children’s bathroom habits or their pickiness with food, or that they are learning so much.   Once upon a time, I was able to have intellectual conversations about politics, the woes of society, even the Theory of Evolution.  Ok, so perhaps I exaggerate about discussing the Theory of Evolution.  My point is that I used to have good, stimulating conversations.   Would I be able to do that again?

Saturday arrived and honesty I began to wonder about what I would talk about with these people.  One couple has children, but they’re in high school.  The other two couples don’t have kids so highly unlikely they’d want to hear my anecdote of how Henry tightrope walked down the bannisters and then doing a triple somersault, landed on his feet and began reciting the periodic table of elements.  Ha!  My kid’s not that good!

Would I be able to add to a conversation?   Would my input be taken like it used to be, as one spoken by a well read female with a Master’s Degree?   Would I sit there and smile, staring at the speaker like a deer caught in the headlights?   Maybe I should be a good hostess and just shuffle around, refilling drinks and passing our hors d’ouevres?  That last thought continued to swirl through my brain when I was stumped by a question from one of my girlfriends.   Oh, these children!  That was my first thought.  Why, oh why, must you suck out any brain cells I have left?

Thankfully for me, the conversations were light, our friends’ anecdotes were hilarious, and I was able to have a conversation outside of poop, puke, boogers, and “woe is me” sighs.   I found out on Saturday night how wonderful adult dinners with friends who either don’t have kids or whose kids are much older, can be.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I love our friends with kids.  I really do.   I still need that adult interaction where we do compare war stories from the battlefields of mommyhood.  My boys still need the kids of those friends as their own friends.  I still need and value my mommy friends with kids, but sometimes it’s just nice to occasionally step out of that world.   And for me, to know that I can do that and still walk back down Mommyhood Lane, really makes me feel fortunate.

It’s taken me a while to get to this point in life.   When I first left work and became a stay at home mom, my entire world revolved around Davey.  I never made time for myself, my husband, or for us as a couple.  I didn’t think it was possible to balance it all and if I tried to, I felt guilty for selfishly wanting time other than that as “mommy”.   It’s a great feeling to know that I can balance it all, that I can have the best of all worlds, and that I do still have the ability for “dinner party conversations”.