Wednesday, July 1, 2009

50 - 400: Who You'd Be Today

Think about regrets for a moment. Everyone has them, whether for "only wondering what if" or for "my life would have been so much better if" they'd done X. Some regrets are tiny, insignificant; some are huge, life-shaping. Most are somewhere in between.

My biggest regret concerns my children. They moved far away with their mom in 2003, when she got her career job. The separation from them is still very, very sad, but it's not specifically the regret. No, the regret is that I didn't insist that their mother and I amend the custody/visitation stipulations in our separation agreement, which was the basis of our divorce decree.

It would have been smart to have a required structure for when and how long I would have physical custody of the kids each year. The time I have with them gets shorter each year. That's partly to be expected, since as they get older they more surely get their own lives, and that's just the way things are supposed to be. And, as the two oldest are now legally adults, they get to choose when, indeed if, to visit. I'm happy that they still choose to come back to North Carolina. More than that, I'm proud that they do. It speaks volumes to the quality of the relationships we have with each other.

My youngest child is still a minor, but he has a job, he plays in a band, he has friends, he has a life completely outside my influence, completely outside my knowledge. I desperately want to have him here more, but I will not try to force the issue.

I believe I have, and want to keep, the same quality of relationship with him that I do with his sister and brother.

Now, what do regrets and visitation have to do with a Kenny Chesney song, especially one about death? Up until the last line, Who You'd Be Today is one of the saddest, bleakest songs in the world, about loss and sorrowful memories. This fits how I see the part of their childhoods my daughter and sons got to spend with me. It's mostly gone, and many of the memories are touched by, perhaps even charged with, the emotions the song evokes.

But what about that last line? The only thing that gives me hope, Is I know I'll see you again some day.

I'm a sucker for a redemption story, the optimist looking for a rainbow to chase down, a windmill to tilt at. My children are how I look on the sunny side.

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Now playing: Kenny Chesney - Who You'd Be Today
via FoxyTunes

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