But here's a thought.....
Would my boys be the boys they are if I wasn't the me that I am? Which makes me wonder sometimes, how did I get to be the me that I am?
Don't worry. I'm not really going to give you a long, drawn out, boring backstory on myself. Most of any of it has no real bearing on the here and now. But..... I had a conversation tonight that made me take a really long look at just what parts of the me then went into the making of the me now.
A conversation with the one brother guaranteed to make me scream, cry, pull out my hair, roll my eyes, and set the phone down because I'm not getting a word in, anyway. All within the first three minutes of the conversation. *sigh* He may be a puke, but I love him.
I won't get into the whole thing. But I will tell you that as surprising as it is, this man (heh.... I typed "boy" first, then literally reminded myself--out loud--that he's 36. Which really means he's not a boy, doesn't it?) has some occasional flashes of observation, philosophy and insight that just blow you away. Tonight was really no different. Well, actually....it kind of was. If you call the fact that for the first time in...oh, I have no idea when but I suspect it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 36 years, he told me that he was proud of me. He believed in me. He was proud to be like me.
It started with him telling me that my boys were boys he was proud to claim as nephews. Well, duh. I could have told they would be. It morphed into him telling me how proud he was to claim me as his big sister. He told me that despite every single negative crud-bucket-y thing that had ever happened in my life since I acknowledged adulthood, I was not a failure.
I repeat.... I am NOT a failure.
And would you believe that despite having worked that logic out on my own, I have never actually believed it. I mean, look at the facts. Here I am, almost 38 years old, and I've never outright owned a single thing since I graduated high school. We are still renting a house, no clear ability to purchase anything anytime before my grandkids (may they not arrive for AT LEAST ten years) graduate high school. We only have one vehicle, while the other one sits -- useless and so unable to run that even the spiders won't touch it -- in my driveway. Oh yes, and we still owe money on it? We struggle from paycheck to paycheck, trying to remember which utility company sent which disconnect notice on what day; and was that date yesterday or today? We work hard to convince our boys that receiving gifts at Christmas, especially anything remotely resembling what the actually wanted, is a highly overrated custom? And yet....and yet....
My brother, who can't stand to be around me for longer than 15 minutes (and sad though it is, I really am not making that up), believes in me. Believes that my boys are who they are, which is basically astounding and amazing young men, because of who I am. And that who I am is someone who not only has done her best, but is someone that HASN'T FAILED.
I need to keep saying that in all caps. Otherwise, I'll let myself believe that it wasn't actually said.)
In life, all I have ever really wanted can be summed up in just a few bullet points:
- I wanted kids that I would get phone calls and emails about from other parents, teachers and people in our community, telling me how polite, well-mannered and thoughtful they were.
- I wanted a husband that would stick by me, no matter what hell we had to get through to at least pass on the fringes of heaven.
- I wanted a career I could take pride in, and have longevity in.
- I wanted to NOT live in an apartment forever.
- I have those kids. If ex-girlfriend's parents can corner me in the grocery store to ask if he'd take their daughter out again; and if every single teacher, despite being frustrated with the grades he squeaks by with, can gush about what a wonderful kid my Bug is, and how he's always the first one to make friends with the new kid or open the door for a teacher; well then, it looks like my boys are so totally living up to my expectations.
- In just a little over two weeks, I will be celebrating 18 years of marriage to someone who stuck around when it would have been so much easier to walk away; someone who is still the first person I want to talk to when something is going wrong, when something is going right, or just when something isn't going anywhere at all and we need to liven it up a bit!
- While I might have been in my current office only a little over a year, I HAVE been in this industry for over 16 years. See? Longevity.
- And while we may only be renting, not working towards owning the thing, it is still a HOUSE, with a yard and a garage; and NOT an APARTMENT.
I am not failing.
And that? Is the absolute most wonderful thing ever said to me. Ever.