I’ve been going through a bunch of digital photos, choosing ones to transfer over to a memory stick for the digital photo frame we’re giving to my mum for her birthday / Mother’s Day present. Nostalgia trip, much? Oh yeah. Big-time nostalgia trip. (BTW, don’t worry. She doesn’t have an internet connection, so she won’t read this and know what we’re getting her, LOL.)
And when I got to the folder of Christmas Day photos, it was really hard. Because for the past few years, my mum has opted out of Christmas Day. By that, I mean she makes herself “unavailable”. There are are valid reasons why, so not making any judgments, here. It’s just that looking through all those years of Christmas Day photos and seeing my kids getting older, and seeing us smiling with friends and other family members we’ve spent Christmas Day with, was a little bit heartbreaking.
We all have regrets, I guess. It’s part of the human condition. Here’re some of mine:
I wish that the last time that my daughter rushed upstairs to tell me something, I hadn’t got impatient with her because she’d interrupted my work. Work can wait. It will still be there in five or ten minutes time. Her “in-the-moment” excitement and wanting to share that moment with me was a fleeting thing.
I hope that my apology and my hug were enough to convince my daughter that she shouldn’t hesitate to rush upstairs and “bother” me with things that are important to her. I hope she realizes how sorry I am for spoiling that moment for her.
I wish that I could travel to Himeji in July with my son and the rest of his school party, so that I could watch their faces and share in their wonder of seeing and experiencing a new country and culture for the very first time.
I hope that my son has an absolute ball with his homestay family, that he embraces every single new experience while he’s there, and that he doesn’t miss me for even a second in the ten days he’s away.
And I find myself selfishly hoping that he will miss me just a little and fearing that when he gets back, he might be too grown up for hugs and kisses.
I wish that I’d known what I wanted to do with my life a lot earlier on. How wonderful would it have been to “know” that I wanted to be a writer when I was in my twenties, before I got sucked into a series of soul-destroying, dead-end jobs! Think of all that writing time I’ve wasted! But then again, maybe all this “life experience” has made me a better writer. Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to handle the rejections and I’d have given up too easily back then. Who knows. Can’t help wishing, though.
I wish that I was a nicer person, that I hadn’t felt that worm of envy in my gut when a fellow writer got an agent and a multi-book publishing deal in what seemed like the blink of an eye. I wish I hadn’t despaired and wondered, “Why not me? I’ve worked really hard. I’ve completed loads of manuscripts. I’ve finaled in loads of writing contests. What the heck do I have to do to get an agent? Sell my first-born?” Because although I was really genuinely happy for her success, secretly, I still wished it had been me. And that’s not cool.
I wish that the last time I argued with my husband, I hadn’t moaned about him to my kids.
I wish that I hadn’t made a less-than complimentary comment about a book that was being reviewed on a blog. Sure, the author wasn’t blogging there, and probably didn’t even know we were discussing his book. Sure, he’s successful and very well respected — the book’s even been made into a movie! — and he probably doesn’t give a toss about some stupid little comment left by some snarky woman on some blog. But really, what a shitful, mean-spirited thing to do! And my supposedly “witty” comment is permanently out there in cyber space. It can’t be erased. It can’t be taken back. And I feel ashamed.
I wish that I had told the truth about that book not being my cup of tea and not being able to finish it in a much kinder way.
I wish that I didn’t feel resentful when people ask me to volunteer my time. I wish that I didn’t feel so damned guilty when I have to tell them no, and point out that I’ve already put in the hard yards and now it’s someone else’s turn to step up.
I hope that someday, when I’ve got this so-called career up and running, I’ll have the time to “put-back” again because it’s wonderful to know people think I’m capable and want me to be involved. And I hope that they’ll still be inclined to ask me, even after all the “No”s.
I wish that I could wear make-up — even just lipstick! — without my eyes all puffing up and my face swelling. It sucks to get all dressed up in a pretty dress and heels, and then not have the “face” to go with the outfit. Just as well my husband loves me heaps and heaps and heaps! But I can’t help wishing for a miracle, that I’ll wake up one morning and all these bizarre allergies will have vanished overnight.
I hope that my kids know how damn proud I am to be their mum. And I hope that they understand just how much I really hate having to tell them off or nag them. It sucks, but that’s my job. Someone has to help them grow up to be decent human beings. Sometimes I just wish it wasn’t me, and I could be “nice mum” all the time.
I hope that my husband knows how darn wonderful he is for going out to work every single day so that I can stay home and pursue a writing career. And I hope that one day, I’ll be able to earn enough money that he can work part-time — or even retire, so that he can have a shot at fulfilling his own dreams.
I wish that I didn’t find it so awfully hard to remember karate moves and dance routines! Part of getting older, I guess. But damn, when I watch kids picking complicated combinations of moves up just like that, it makes me wish for a partial brain upgrade, LOL.
I wish that I could get enthused about cooking again. I used to love cooking…. until I had kids. Now it’s a chore. Hard to feel enthused when you put effort into a meal but one kid or the other turns their noses up. One day, I hope they’ll have fussy kids of their own ;-)
I hope that when my writing is publicly criticized and poked fun at — it’s inevitable it will happen at some stage — that I can accept the criticism gracefully and take it on the chin. I hope that I can “channel” Carla Cassidy, the author of Pregnesia, and be gracious and funny and accepting of their right to have their own opinions. (Pretty ironic, given my earlier comments, but that’s what I wish.)
I wish that when I’d gotten wildly diverse scores from various judges, I hadn’t taken only the negative comments to heart and dived in and “sanitised” that manuscript. Because it sucked all the soul out of that story. It made it slick and professional and very competently written, but along the way, I lost the “voice” that the judges who’d scored it highly had so loved in the first place.
I wish I’d believed in myself a bit more, because it’s taken a couple of years and many rewrites to inject that voice back into the manuscript. I’m now at the stage when an editor says that she absolutely loved the story and my voice, and that the plot is strong and its a great story — just not erotic enough for the line. Which is okay. Because she also says it would be a wonderful fit for a traditional romance publisher. And honestly? That’s where I’d like it to be.
I wish I had time to send out some queries for the afore-mentioned manuscript, LOL!
That’s it for now. Feel free to share your own regrets and hopes and wishes if you feel so inclined! Be nice to know I’m not the only one feeling just a tad regretful, today! But then, I guess looking through old photos will have that effect on even the most postitive soul.