These feelings began some weeks ago, but came to a head last weekend when I went back to California to help my wonderful mom with the final phase of their move. She's been working for the last two years clearing out the house they lived in for 43 1/2 years, selling, packing, sorting, delivering, tossing, donating, and deciding deciding deciding. During the weekend, Mom and I had a chance to have some really great heart-to-hearts about life, marriage, kids, futures, goals, and even dreams lost. My relationship with my mom has been especially strong the last decade or so, but this weekend I felt an even deeper sisterhood with this kindred spirit. We drew many parallels between our two lives, and are convinced we chose to be in the same family whenever our earthy time was supposed to begin. She said the conversation must have gone something like this:
Her: Hey, should we ask if we can be in the same family so we can talk to each other all the time?
Me: Totally. Do you think we should ask to be sisters?
Her: Nah. We need to learn more than that. Let's be mother and daughter! Which one do you want to be?
Me: Well, you're more bossy, so you should be the mom.
Her: It's not like you're going to do what I tell you anyway, so it doesn't matter, but okay, I'll go ask.
And that is how we came into the same family. Scout's honor. And as I was helping pack up memory after memory after memory, I got nostalgic and homesick and yes, even regretful about the times we had and the times we never did because I was too hard-headed and Miss Know-it-all to really know any better. And now I've been called to help in the Young Women program at church, so I find myself wanting to shake them and say "Do it this way!" so they don't fall into the same silly traps the rest of us did. Here were some of mine:
1. I'm sorry I didn't tell my dad about the oil light coming on in our 1984 Honda Civic hatchback before it was too late. Not only did I have to help pay to replace the entire engine because it had run dry, but I got busted because it broke down on my way back from my boyfriend's house, where I'd made an early morning visit instead of going to seminary.
2. I'm sorry I gave up sewing after I attempted one pair of pajama pants that a penguin would have been embarrassed to wear. It took me almost a decade to work up the courage again, and by then, it wasn't as easy to learn at my mother's knee.
3. I regret that I didn't keep a more consistent journal. We helped a couple move today, and I lugged a very heavy bin that had "all the journals" she's kept since she was 6. I have, count 'em, two journals other than my mission journal, and the second one isn't even half full. So all of you I've had conversations with over the years, recount to me what I said so I can write it all down and make this list longer. :)
4. I regret not following the incredibly strong prompting to send a Book of Mormon to my high school history teacher. Now I'll never know.
5. I'm sorry I was SO CLUELESS to so many friends who needed my help over the years. I shied away from tragedy because I never knew what to say or do, but working at a mortuary finally taught me that people just need someone to listen. I could have been that for so many, but was too insecure to realize it.
6. I regret never confronting Carol W. from high school about why she hated me so much. I still wonder about that. Maybe I made out with her crush or something - that's entirely possible.
7. I regret that I developed a bad habit of comparing myself to others for so many reasons. I know it's a cankerous way to live, but sometimes, I can't help myself. I make my jokes about hating them, but really, I'm just jealous. If you're reading this and I know you, go ahead and insert your name where you see "others". I'm positive it applies to you.
I need to stop there, or at least pause while I go find some Prozac somewhere.
To be fair, I have talents and happiness that I have fostered and nurtured through the years, so it's not like I'm that bad off. And one day, I will write about those. Today, though, I needed a little self-chiding to get myself back on a track I can look back on and think, "Well done." Mom, thanks for the inspiration. I think I'll start doing what you tell me to.