Late Bloomer

2012 wasn’t the best. It wasn’t even close to the best. I won’t bother telling you all of the reasons why. They don’t matter anymore because it’s 2013. On New Year’s Eve I spent a few quiet moments looking at myself in the mirror and reflecting on the year, when it occurred to me how beautiful I am. I have big brown eyes. (Many) deepening lines around them. A look of seriousness and loving all rolled together. There is certain softness about me despite my sharp features that gives people confidence to share their secrets. And in those few quiet moments I wished I had a mother who looked like me. More importantly, one who looked AT me the way in which I look at my children and was looking at myself just then. It would have made a world of difference. I would have bloomed sooner.

I have often wanted to be a top priority in somebody’s life. That person they cannot imagine being without and for whom that they will sacrifice some of their own needs to meet some of mine. Like an ever-loving Blake Shelton song, damn it! Me. But instead, I have a long history of attaching myself to people who like to take more than they give. This has been the subject for many hours in therapy and I am unraveling that one a single knot at a time like a ball of yarn that was left in a box full of kittens. It’s tedious and frustrating but I am getting there and making better decisions as I go.

I confided a few secrets to myself that day. Useful ones. Painful ones. And realized that there is no reason in the world that I cannot do for myself what I also do for my children which is to love them unconditionally. I have raised four kids alone and have seen them gracefully through the most difficult things including critical illness and a hostile divorce. I embrace their imperfections every day. In fact, I rejoice in them. And now it is time to give myself that same grace and those same gifts of time, love and attention. But, for whatever reasons, it is not so easy to do.

I started small on New Year’s morning by cutting my daughter’s favorite donut in half before she woke …because it happens to be my favorite, too. And I spent the day scheduling time with people I have been meaning to see forever. I got online and allowed myself to dream about the places I will live and the things I will create once my kids are grown and I am no longer required to stay here where I do not thrive. I stepped outside my comfort zone and allowed myself to be vulnerable ~ and alive. And I will love myself dearly even if those decisions don’t turn out to be exactly right. There will be days that I do this better than others. I know this already. And, as a mother caring for a child who is learning how to take chances, I will forgive that struggle too.

Something is shifting. I am making it so. I can’t wait to see who I really am after some long awaited TLC. Better to bloom late than never.