I was driving home tonight, after a frustratingly horrendous errand outing with the little dude, and I started to think.
(and we all know that can’t be good, right? haha)
Anyways, I was sitting there, driving, and thinking about how much easier running out to do two or three errands would be without the meltdowns and the constant requests for treats – without all of the extra seemingly unnecessary work.
It brought me back to four years ago, which is, coincidentally almost to the day, when I told The Dad that I was pregnant.
I began to wonder if maybe things had gone differently between us – if I’d told him sooner or we communicated better or if we hadn’t hated each other so much after our last discussion of “what to do”.
FYI that is the nicest way that I’ve ever worded the conversation where he demanded an abortion and, being 26 weeks pregnant, I informed him that it was not an option for us. It was also the last time we spoke until I told him I wanted a paternity test since I knew he didn’t believe that our son was his.
Being as small as I was then I felt like I could afford the extra time to think things through before making a decision without advertising my situation and getting lost in the whirlwind that my life did eventually become.
I think that maybe if I had reacted differently myself and didn’t need so much time to process the situation, alone with my thoughts and no other input or opinions on what I needed to do, then maybe he would have had more time to process everything then perhaps he would have been more prepared to deal with fatherhood when the time finally came.
Maybe if he had made more of an effort I wouldn’t be here, sitting in this jeep, feeling like pulling my hair out, getting told off by my three year old.
But I can’t focus on the maybes or the what if’s.
I make half a million decisions every single day and if I linger on the trillion different possible outcomes of every single one of them I’ll drive myself
even more crazy.
The thing is, that even while I was thinking about all of those many possible things that I could have changed, could have done differently, I still don’t see things having turned out differently.
I picture all of that happening and I still picture myself being in the exact. same. place.
Is that weird?
With all of the decisions I can picture myself changing – telling him earlier, not giving up after all of the abortion talk, calling him when our son was born, telling his parents myself when I figured out that he wasn’t going to, making him take a paternity test sooner, maybe even moving to Toronto instead of Ottawa – I still don’t picture myself being anywhere but where I am today and I don’t see things being any different than they are now.
Maybe that’s a product of me believing that everything happens for a reason. Maybe it’s because I believe that wherever you are right now is exactly where you are meant to be.
Maybe that’s why I think it’s so pointless to focus on what if’s and what could have been.
If The Dad had been there to see his son born would that have made him a better dad? Probably not.
It probably would have provided a more immediate bond but the little dude thinks the world of him as it is. The Dad doesn’t really come around or make contact often enough to really develop their bond into more than what it is already.
Perhaps I’d have a better relationship with Grandma Z and Grandpa Grandpa but as it is we get along amazingly well – to the point that when I drive the little dude up for a visit I always stay the night. I always stay up late into the night drinking wine and chatting with Grandma Z. In the beginning I found it uncomfortable and awkward but I’m at the point where I kind of look forward to it.
We share holidays together, weekly phone calls, emails and visits – could things really be any better in a situation where two parents aren’t together? In my experience, hell to the no.
So what would changing all of our past have done to influence our present, really?
2006 and 2007 were years of significant growth and change for me.
There are things that I used to wish I could changed and things that I wish had never happened and even a few things that I’m proud of.
Quitting school and packing up and leaving in the middle of the night – not my proudest moments. Getting pregnant with the little dude a few months later – not my smartest. But in the middle of all of that I met a guy.
A guy that eventually loved me and who I wanted to love, who wanted me to stay here instead of moving to North Bay, move in with him, be with him and live happily ever after.
I didn’t know it until a couple months later but I had gotten pregnant literally right when we met.
It quickly turned into a whirlwind of dating which ended with me at his house, every single night, sneaking home in the wee hours of the morning and heading off to work. I don’t think my parents saw me more than one night a week that summer.
It was conflicting.
He was a lot older and we worked together. He was a manager but not for my department.
I ended up quitting my job and taking full time hours at my second job so that our relationship at work wasn’t an issue. It was getting that serious, that fast.
It’s hard to describe I suppose – I was very much in like with him. If we’d been together any longer I could see talking myself into thinking it was something more – and maybe it was, who knows – but at the end of the summer, just weeks before I realized I was pregnant, something happened.
A switch flipped.
I made the last minute decision to accept an offer of enrolment from a school up north, found an apartment and moved – all in the span of three weeks.
I don’t know if it was my subconscious telling me I needed to leave or if at the time the thought of that kind of commitment at that point in my life freaked me out but either way I went.
After I figured out that I was pregnant I broke things off – it was messy.
It wasn’t a clean break.
It wasn’t easy.
When I moved back I cautiously spent time with him, casually. We were still close – close enough that I called him and left a message after the little dude was born, not knowing that he was at the hospital on the floor above me, watching someone close to him pass away.
I don’t know if he ever tried to come visit or not but he wouldn’t have been able to find my room number at the front desk – there was restricted access to my room and the only way to find it was to call me directly.
We hung out a little bit after the little dude was born and he tried to convince me that the three of us could be a family. That we could all be together. I still can’t put my finger on why but it just didn’t seem right, I guess.
I ended up cutting him out of my life completely.
I had to or I never would have been able to decide what I wanted.
I still care for him as a friend, enough that I always wave if he is outside his house when I drive by but at the same time I don’t want to have awkward small talk with him, looking at me the way he does with those eyes that make me feel guilty as hell about moving on, so I avoid his office like the plague.
Avoidance can be healthy.
I think making the decision to move on was probably the best decision I made.
I’m pretty certain about it and I still can’t put my finger on why.
I think I would have eventually have given in to what he wanted and wouldn’t have ever been entirely happy with that.
The only reason we ever got to know each other outside of work was because he was roommates with a good friend of mine.
If he hadn’t been, we wouldn’t have.
…and if I’d stayed JME and I never would have taken a chance on each other. I can’t imagine my life without ever having had the opportunity for us to try being together.
So when I contemplate all of these what if’s and different decisions I always come back to the same conclusion.
I would either be exactly where I am today or unhappy.
So in the interest of having no regrets, I’m choosing to say no to the lingering what if’s that wander into my mind whenever it conveniences them.
I need to learn that just because things are hard sometimes doesn’t mean that they need to change.
I don’t need to not be a single mom in order to make evening errand runs easier – I just need to deal with the fact that they’re going to be difficult sometimes. Just like they would be even if I wasn’t a solo parent.
I think slowly I am training my mind to start thinking that things just are what they are and not jumping to the conclusion that if The Dad had done things differently I wouldn’t be standing in the middle of Canadian Tire with a 3 year old having a meltdown.
That isn’t logical.
So instead of having regrets about what I did or didn’t do I’m just going to appreciate the fact that I’m doing the best I can with the hand that I’ve been dealt. Even if it means I don’t have a perfectly well behaved child in public when it’s past his bedtime. Instead of dragging the negativity of regret into my life I’m dragging in the positivity of what I’m going to call the “anti-regret”: without the decisions that I did and didn’t make I wouldn’t have the beautiful son that I do and I wouldn’t have such a wonderful life and bright future.