TITLE: Making Amends 01-21-18
By Carla Eckhorst
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As for my regrets, I have come to firmly believe that the most effective and maybe the only true way of making amends is striving to be the kind of person right now that I wish I could have been then. I had always wanted them to engage in meaningful hobbies, and take their many artistic gifts out into the world and find like-minded people by joining for example a group called the young Irish film makers or the Cartoon Salon, or by taking a year out to do a fulltime art course locally. Or I wanted them to learn a musical instrument and make that their life’s passion. Or to really, really excel academically, which would have been an easy thing, especially for my eldest, extremely intelligent daughter.
Meanwhile, I have done the art course myself as well as a drama course, I have gone back to university and have done really, really well academically. I have been in choirs and sang my heart out performing great choral works. I have also dusted off my treble recorder and am enjoying the privilege of playing music with others every week. I am involved in other groups and activities as well, which allow me to develop my ability to express myself, the “gift of the gab” as it is called here in Ireland. In other words, I have recognised that I had wanted my children to do and be all that I didn’t seem to be able to do or be myself. I had been trying to exist through them, wanted them to live the life I didn’t. I am certain that on some level they recognised that and resented me for it and rebelled against it. I have learned I can’t expect them to use their gifts and talents if I don’t use mine.
Most of all I wanted my children to enjoy life. To be well-rounded, mentally and emotionally sound people who would not be suffering from depression and isolate themselves like their mother. Again I have learned, the best I can do for them is to be the living proof that I honestly believe life is worth living, that it is possible to enjoy it and even have fun. It is my job to show them that I am not a victim, I get no kick and no more pleasure out of blaming and complaining. No one is responsible for me, and neither are they. They can rest assured their mother is alright, she is doing fine. She is going out more and finally “having a life”.
Since they have known me in my very worst and broken state, they are also the ones to witness first-hand that I have changed and how far I have come. I can hardly believe now how insanely intense my attitude of criticising was, and yet it must have been very real because I see especially my son’s great sensitivity and reaction to the slightest comment. He is obviously still not convinced that I am now safe to be around. And so, on the rare occasions that he is in my house, on visit from New York where he now lives, I say nothing when he puts the cutlery the wrong way round in the drying rack or when he starts new toilet rolls before old ones are finished. It’s not worth it, time is too precious to waste on nonsense like that when making amends is my top priority. It is an on-going process in which really, most of all, I want to reassure my children that I love them and that they are very loveable indeed.
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