I haven't spoken to this person in ten years or more. Occasionally, I would received a Christmas card from her. Once, I saw her mother in Costco. It wasn't until Facebook that I caught up with her in greater detail.
Funny how things change.
I suppose the reason this woman has come to mind is because of a new book out on motherhood. I refuse to add the title of the book, because I do not want to give this author any press. I loath what she wrote about. It's the same issue that caused a huge rift between my friend from Jr. High and I.
My friend left her child.
It's such a simple statement. Did she leave him in the car? At the mall? At the daycare?
My friend left her second husband, loaded up her two children from her previous relationships, and drove away as her eight-year-old son chased her car down the street.
I know I am sitting in judgment here.
When my friend described her reason for leaving, her husband accused her of having an affair with the man who is now her third husband (hmmm....) she said she could not stand the accusations and thus fled. Husband number two and told her she could take "her two children with her," but that his son would remain with him.
And so she left.
And that little boy chased her car.
In my minds eye, I play out that scene and I wonder, to this day, how she could tell me this story without a hint of remorse or sadness. I simply do not understand it and I don't think I ever will. That little boy is in his twenties now. I wonder about him.
There are no pictures of him on her Facebook page and there is no mention that she has a third child. She has never spoken of him.
The press is all aflutter about this new book on motherhood...the one where the mother decided she didn't want to be a mother any more and walked away. Clean. She left like a man will leave, without looking back. In her own words, she states that she put herself first, that she felt she had lost who she was when she became a mother.
And I cannot argue that.
Becoming a parent was so earth shattering that sometimes I wonder how Beloved and I managed to stay married and not kill each other ... or those two delightful rug rats we were blessed with.
It changed us. It forced us to grow up and deal with life and each other while putting someone else's life first. There were times when I thought my brain had surely turned to oatmeal. I remember lying on my bed and wondering, "Is this all there is?"
Looking back now, as the mother of two adults, I know the answer to that question. No, that wasn't all there was. Life is a journey, not a race. Children grow...slowly and quickly. They change. They become who they were meant to be and a parent has the joy (and sometimes the sorrow) of watching that child trip and slip into adulthood.
The rewards come later.
I did not lose who I was when I became a mother, I simply grew into who I needed to be. Now that my babies are not longer babies, Beloved and I are becoming that "couple" that we once were. We are enjoying the freedom of adulthood without children. It's grand.
My friend from Jr. High is still married to her third husband and she seems to be in a good place. We do not discuss the past or her other child. I've never asked if she has regrets. It's truly none of my business. I hope she has found what she was looking for.
I cannot decide on a way to end this blog post. It's so judgmental and mean spirited. I've got my soap box out and I want to lecture people on the ways of good parenting. I'm feeling so self-righteous.
Perhaps I should just end by saying that the best thing I have ever done and will ever do was to become the parent of two fine adults.