When I was a little girl I had huge ideas of how my life was going to be when I grew up. I listened intently to all the fairytales convinced that that was how real life was. Convinced that there was a prince out there just waiting for me. Waiting to come riding up on his white horse, sword waving, with a smile that I would fall in love with instantly and be there to rescue me. What he is suppose to save me from I don’t know but that is how it was suppose to happen.
Then harsh reality of adulthood sets in and those ideals faded away with my youth. Then came a bad marriage, not enough money, starting over with a child, single mom hood and the every day anxiety of raising a daughter. With that praying I am showing Tooters the right path in life so she will grow up strong and avoid the same mistakes I made. I know that she needs to make her own bad choices at times and make her own mistakes to learn from but as a mother I want to shelter her from all that.
So here I sit thinking about then and now, what a difference a few years make. Wondering how I could have done things different then kicking myself in the butt because I realize my choices made me who I am today. My choices also brought me to a place in my life that I have a career of sorts with the state, I am attending college, living paycheck to paycheck and living with my greatest accomplishment in the world. As we all grow up think about current and past choices we see what we should have done different at the time. Below is irrefutable proof of a maturing mind:
Then: Once I used to be able to party all night just to race home, shower, eat a piece of toast and go to work perky.
Now: Just the thought of a drink sends me running for the aspirin and turns my stomach. The idea of spending an evening at a bar then taking care of Tooters the next day makes a few more white hairs pop out. I would rather watch a movie at home and go to bed early.
Then: Friday night was a race to find as many people to go out with as possible. Scouting out where the hot spots were for the night and wondering how many drinks I could get the cute guy across the bar to buy me.
Now: Friday night is spent watching kid movies, doing laundry, studying or just turning in for the night before midnight. Or sitting in front of the TV with a scary movie after Tooters is finally asleep thinking OMG I am going to pay for this at 7 am when she gets up because it is after midnight.
Then: Jumping in the shower before work with the music blasting at an earsplitting level and enjoying the hot water. Being able to shave my legs and pits in peace without explaining what I am doing or why and not caring if I end up walking around the house nekkid because I forgot my clothes and a clean towel.
Now: Getting in the shower before school/work with Tooters and racing through it so that we are both done before the song ends that is on the radio. Racing out of the shower to get dressed and yelling we are in fast mode because mommy could not pry her eyes open before hitting snooze for the third time.
Then: I used to stand in front of my closet full of cute clothes that were a size 0-5 wondering which one would make my butt look the cutest for the day. Looking in my drawer and have underwear with out holes and a bra that did not have safety pins holding it together.
Now: Looking in my closet wondering which outfit is going to hide the baby pooch that will never go away and the butt that is slowly migrating south. Finding the right bra that will keep my boobs from looking like socks with sand in them. Keeping duck tape in the bedroom to tape the under wire back in place for the day.
Then: Leaving the house smelling like a girl. Every hair in perfect order as well as the make up.
Now: Lucky to escape the house with out smelling to out of place from being puked on all night. Then getting to work and remembering that I only had to time to do one eye and afraid to look in the mirror and see my hair.
Then: Working overtime at my job thinking about the new pair of boots I get to buy for going out. Knowing that all the bills were paid ahead of time and if I wanted to eat out every meal I could because it was just me.
Now: Wondering which bill I can put off for another 2 weeks because Tooters has to have medicine for her ear. Now instead of shopping the specialty shops for myself I run to the thrift store hoping they have something in my size because all my clothes are either stained or do not fit anymore just so that Tooters can have the newest movie that came out. Also praying that the can of vegetables I just threw in the stew will taste ok because that is all I have left in the cupboard.
Looking at my list I realize that my youth was spent being indulgent and selfish. Tooters is such a blessing because she made me grow up and realize there are more important things out there than myself. I enjoy every sacrifice and indulging in her wants now instead of my own. I am sad that it took such a rocky path to get here and I apologize in secret for Tooters not having a normal family like I got to have. But then again I remind myself that we went from a deplorable situation to one that is loving, safe and all mine. I get to reap the rewards everyday and the little arms wrapped around my neck at night and little lips kissing my cheek makes everything ok no matter what kind of day I have had.
Thank you Tooters for being in my life. Thank you mom and dad for your unconditional love and support. Thank you friends for letting me vent and cry when I cannot stand it anymore. Thank you to all the special people in my life for lifting my spirits when I am down.