I shut down the computer and started to clean the hallway. It started off as just a cleaning – something I hadn’t done in a while. Felt good. Hands and knees kind of cleaning. Wash, rinse, rinse, and when the water is clear move on to the next section.
I’d been watching a new CBC show called Being Erica; general premise is a thirty-something woman has a very rough day, meets a therapist, and reveals a dozen-ish regrets. Things she wishes she had done that would have life-altering consequences. Oh, how much better her life would have been if she had joined that secret society in undergrad for instance. She gets to go back in time. She gets do-overs. Tag line, if you could go back and do it over again, would you still be you? (truthfully, not a show I’ll continue to watch. The acting is flat, lines and plot predictable)
Of course, here I was scrubbing the floor, still on schedule to get to bed before midnight. But no. I had to start thinking. Which means to get it sorted out in my head. I need to write.
What would I do over again? What enormous effects would those different choices have on my life?
I find it hard to come up with much. Sure, I regret leaving the basketball team in grade nine. Would it have life-altering changes? I might have enjoyed high school more, but I also might have found entirely different reasons to be miserable. I would take the time to talk with Grandma. I would have stopped the rollercoaster ride of my relationship with Jason in University. The things I regret are mainly small things, people I didn’t thank, friends I let slip away, things left unsaid. But nothing worth a do-over.
If I had the chance I still think I would go back to the couch. A sat next to me, and I didn’t know what was going to come out of my mouth. Either “I can’t do this any more, we’re through,” or “I’m pregnant.” I chose to tell him that I was pregnant. If I had one do-over I would choose to end things.
I know, that would be a dangerous decision, risking the potential that Cameron would hate me for denying him his father.
But for purely selfish reasons, I would change what I said. To be able to enjoy pregnancy without having to watch what I said lest I bruise his ego, get told I was being childish, get told I wasn’t doing it right. To not have someone constantly harassing me because I didn’t want to move in with him. To not have to deal with him at the hospital, to not have to spend the first days of being Cameron’s mom fighting and hurting. To not find it hard to look back and see anything but that fighting.
Would my life be different or better now? In the future? Probably not. I have sole custody, I have sole guardianship, and A leaves us alone entirely. There’s the stress of the possibility of his return, but as time ticks on it becomes less and less likely.
If I could go back and do that over again, would I still be me? Of course I would be. I perhaps wouldn’t know how strong I am. In some ways A taught me that. Listening to him tell me how pathetic I was, how I sucked at my job but nobody had the heart to tell me, how horrible a mother I was … helped me to see that I am really very good at what I do. I got through the uncertainty of the court appearance. I got through the depression.
Maybe in years to come I’ll see that I made the right decision after all. Maybe I’ll get to a point where I wouldn’t go back and change that day. Maybe someday I’ll get to a point where I can remember the wonderfulness of being pregnant, the hope and joy and excitement, the peaceful moments of holding my baby … without first having to wade through the mess of memories of stress, anger, and hurt.