Do Over Button

I have look everywhere for it, but I can’t find it anywhere. That “Do Over” button. When I was younger, it never occurred to me to want one. But now sometimes the question enters my mind of what would I do if there was such a thing as that button? I had my first child when I was barely 19. She was the joy of my life, but as I swam through that murky water of being of a new mom, I made so many mistakes. If only children came with a manual. Of course, I did have Dr. Spock back then. That book of his was tattered and worn from my thumbing through it for answers to my questions. Did I let my baby cry herself to sleep? Or does a good mom rock a child to sleep in my arms? How horrid I felt when she fell down exploring the world. Could I have prevented it? Do I feed cereal to an infant, or do I wait? My mom told me to, so I did. Maybe I shouldn’t have listened? As my daughter’s siblings continued to arrive, six in total, the questions continued and many of the rules seemed to change with each delivery. It is easy to question whether I would do it differently if I could do it all again.

Though my life, friends have come and gone. I remember my first best friend was Holly. I can’t remember her last name or where she is, but I know she was important to me. All of my friends have been. The best part of my childhood was spent with a neighborhood crew in grade school. The thought of our adventures still bring a smile to my face. We swam, biked, fished, and got in minor trouble. I read everything I could get my hands on and loved the library. My first job was babysitting, something I still continue to do now. I remember being proud of the job I did, one job even included ironing white, crisply starched shirts along with watching the two children. Were those jobs the first step to my career choice?

I often wonder if I should have spent more time trying to be a better student. I hated trying to learn “new math” and especially timed multiples as a grade schooler. If I could redo my childhood, with all of its ups and downs, would I? I think of how I made a decision to get married instead of going to college like so many my age. It took me many, many years to finally take college courses. I loved it, even excelled at it. No one was more surprised than me. I had grown up thinking I wasn’t very smart. Would I have tried harder if I had known I had to ability to do well learning? Would my lifetime career had been different?

Like most everyone that ages, my bones decide to ache to let me know rain is on its way. My skin develops new “freckles”, wrinkles, and creases. Coming upon a mirror, a quick glance surprises me at the old person looking back at me. That person inside is not old! Should I have been more disciplined about putting face cream on every night? Wear a hat and sunscreen while I garden? Every visit to the doctor brings a new addition to the list of diagnoses. If only I would of ate healthier and exercised more over all these years. What if I had not got married so young? What if I would of acted more mature? What if I had taken better care of myself? What if I would of tried harder to keep some friendships and relationships? What if I would not have been so stubborn and let some of those same relationships wane sooner? I do know I will never regret having my beautiful children. I will never regret the loves in my life. I learned from most of my mistakes, even though some lessons I needed to learn more than once. Would I really have done things any differently? These things made me who I am today. There are still many things I do not like about myself but I do like myself better than I used to. So even though I can’t find that “Do Over” button anywhere, I am comforted by knowing that. I do not regret that there really isn’t one.

Originally published in Bottom Line News & Views, November 2018

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