It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light……so says Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities.
Believe it or not, ‘twas not my parents or even my English teacher who insisted I read this epoch novel at the tender age of 17 when sex, drugs and rock and roll was all that really mattered. It was rather my very first, head over heels in love with gear-head, grocery store stocker boyfriend Bill. That first paragraph describes every stage of my life.
This past week, my former husband gave me 2 boxes of pictures from our daughter’s earliest years. Those years being the ones before photographs became computerized or digital and the glossy, faded kodak pictures pasted into crusty old photo albums were still the norm.
Looking through these pictures I was reminded that there was a time when my daughters needed and wanted me. Whereas today I know they need me but struggle with wanting me.
I was reminded how hard I tried to breastfeed them both valiantly but unsuccessfully, how I changed diapers and survived all night vigils over nightmares, stomach bugs, ear infections, colds, pneumonia, and more. How I joyfully watched nightly dance recitals performed by Gillian, got my exercise chasing a naked Izzy around the backyard, took vacations to Disney World, dragged them to rallies, demonstrations and work events, attended parent teacher conferences, hosted annual fundraising carnivals to teach them the importance of having fun while giving back, bartered over dinner time vegetable intake, enjoyed holidays wearing matching outfits and even baked for the occasions, proudly attended school plays, band and choir concerts, went to way too many kid birthday parties, and so much more.
So you might think that to tie in my best of times, worst of times theme I’d tell you those pictures were the best of times and now is the worst of times – but I won’t do that because every stage of life has its best and worst times – and they are all worth lving.
So, while I feel sorry for myself sometimes these days and struggle to be loving and adoring while maintaining a respectful distance, I am reminded that even the worst of times are better for me and my daughters than for many in this world.
And if both my daughters grow up having learned that treating others as they want to be treated and giving more then they receive are two important tenets by which to live – I will have done a pretty damn good job.