Being a parent teaches you amazing things about yourself. It teaches you how to be selfless and selfish. It teaches you how to be a teacher and how to learn from your children, your parents and your friends. It teaches you how to slow down, how to move faster and how to do many things at once or just sit down and read a story with them and do absolutely nothing else. Being a parent has been a tough learning curve. Your children are not you, they don't learn the best way you do, they have their own little personalities and quirky habits. They amaze me every day how they can be a part of Chris and I and yet be so different from us.
Mostly they have taught me about forgiveness. I think my cousin's children have done the same for her. I'm not sure if we'll ever be like we were but my cousin and I have a relationship now and its been growing slowly but surely. We've linked up via Face Book and My Space. It opens up conversations, it opens general dialogue that moves into our personal, emotional, spiritual lives to bring us back together.
A long time ago my cousin and I were more like sisters. She had a tough life and a blessed life, she had too many tragedies and a plethora of loving hands to fall into. Her world has been turned up side down too many times to count and turned back not quite all the way. She had to push for normalcy and overcome choices and things out of her hands.
I spend much of my childhood looking up to her. I spent most of my adolescence in her shadow and much of my early adulthood pulling back. We had fall outs. Bad ones about 12 years ago. One after the other. My heart broke more for that than over any boy (and there were many to be heartbroken over) ever did. She was selfish and mean and hurtful. She pushed everyone away and I was hurt enough to let her. I couldn't do it anymore. It was toxic to me to wait around for her to get it together. She didn't go to my wedding, I didn't go to hers. Many years later I don't necessarily regret that but I'm sad for it.
The last year we've talked, never about specifics of those bad years, usually about the boys who hurt us during that time though. She mentioned a certain boy last night. The only boy who actually broke my heart. I usually was the one to break up, usually the one go home and cry because it wasn't meant to be, but never the one who's heart was smashed in a million pieces, like it was by him. This one left some long term bruises on my heart. He also happens to be very good friends with my cousin. I couldn't even listen to her talk in the past sometimes about him although it had been 15 years since he broke that young girls heart. But then I realized those bruises were way past time to heal.
I spent so much time working on healing this relationship with my cousin why couldn't I understand that this past boy and I broth grew up, we both settled down some, we both matured and changed and see the world differently than those teenagers we were. Last night I officially forgave him for the pain that fall of 1994. It was a lifetime ago, a young teenagers tears, an adults memory. It does nothing for him for me to forgive him. Only for me it is an amazing accomplishment.
So I forgive my children every day for those mean little snarky comments about me being a bad mom for not letting them eat cereal for breakfast lunch and dinner or play on the Play Station all day. I hope they forgive me. I forgave my cousin for the things that she had said and done and the way I handled it. I hope she forgives me. I forgave a past love who broke my heart and I forgive myself for beating myself up for 15 years about it. It is so amazing how free your heart feels when it is filled with forgiveness.