regret (ri’ gret)
:a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity
I’ve always claimed that I live with no regrets. Everything I have (and haven’t) done is what put me where I am today. Regrets are for those who aren’t happy how things turned out, and admitting to having regrets is admitting of any wrongdoing or wanting change. That’s just NOT my M.O.
And honestly, I am pretty content about where I am today and how I have turned out. I’m healthy, have a decent family, live comfortably, make friends easily and am in love with a cute Welsh boy. But if I was being 100% truthful, I’d say I have a couple of regrets related to my family, my friends and my love life.
Through my category and tag entitled “Regrets“, I’ll be sharing with you a couple of my quiet regrets I would never own up to in real life. I hope you enjoy these series of not-so-feel-good tales.
Family Regret – Survival of the Attack
During my childhood, I was very much a mama’s boy. Because my dad was desperate to have a boy, when my mom finally gave birth to my brother, my dad favored him above all. By the time that I, the ‘accident,’ came along, my dad was less interested and so my mom ‘claimed’ me as her son.
While my dad took Joey to go hunting, to go to work with him, to go to Vietnam with him, mom took me to the mall with her, to millions of garage sales with her, and dipped French bread in coffee with her every morning. By the time I was 4, my parents’ marriage had deteriorated and Joey slept in my parents’ room with dad whilst Rose and I slept with mom in a separate room, where I would cuddle with her every night.
By the time I was in the 6th grade, though, I was starting to branch out — rebel, as you will, against my mom. I had to keep my image of ‘cool’ because I was Student Council president, had a strong group of friends and the kid with the newest, coolest gadgets.
It was a tradition that the 6th grade class took a ‘camping trip’ together, in the name of science. I was pretty excited about being with my friends for a couple of nights in a row and away from my usually-crowded house, as well as going ‘camping’ for the first time. (I put quotes on ‘camping’ because we slept in cabins with showers and stuff, which some might not consider camping but it was to me!)
When the trip was at bay, there was a sheet of paper that came home with the kids to ask which parents would want to come chaperone it. I didn’t think anything of it as I handed the sheet to my parents, but my mom decided she had wanted to chaperone. She gave me the sheet to turn in to my teacher. I had the urge to have thrown it away, but what if she had called my teacher to verify her spot? I’d be in big trouble. So I turned it in to my teacher.
My mom kept asking me if I’m excited for the trip, and I secretly thought, “Yeah, I am, but I’d be more excited if you weren’t coming,” but I never voiced it. Maybe I was just raised up better, or maybe it was because I could tell she was getting excited as well, but I didn’t want to ruin this for her. I just didn’t want her to be on top of me the whole time and I just thought it was weird for my mom to go when she wouldn’t even be in my cabin, because she’s a girl. But I let it go.
It was the Tuesday before the trip (which was on Thursday to Saturday) and my dad brought me home from school. As my dad was cooking dinner, he had called me in to ‘help’ in the kitchen, which meant he didn’t really need my help but wanted to talk. He asked me, “Hermes, lets keep a secret between us. Do you really want mom to go with you to the trip? It’ll be our secret, she won’t know if you said you don’t.”
Let me give you some background on dad. He doesn’t like anyone going anywhere. He wants to stay at home, and he wants everyone to stay at home with him. He doesn’t want to go out to eat, go to the movies, go watch football, go to church, go shopping or anything like that — he goes to work, then heads home and that’s how he wants the whole family to be. So when my mom wanted to go with me to the camping trip, he hated it.
“She can come if she really wants…” I replied.
“Really? Hermes, this is going to be between us. Do you REALLY want you mom to go on this trip with you?” dad asked again.
“I don’t really want her to, but don’t tell her! She can go if she wants to…” I said wishy-washy.
“Ok. Good. This is just between us. Our secret,” my dad concluded with a wink. I walked away to do whatever my 12-year-old self did after school.
Later that night when everyone else had gone upstairs, I was alone downstairs, trying to find some supplies for my homework because my insomnia was full-fledged by then and I like the peace of nighttime to work. I looked up when I heard someone coming down from our 3rd floor stairs to me in the 1st floor living room. It was my mom. She came up to me with a sad face and petting me like she always does.
“Hermes, I have something to tell you,” she started. “I won’t be able to go with you on your camping trip because I have to work. I’ll volunteer to pick the kids up to head back to school for their parents to pick up though!” she said with a weak smile. I said okay as she gave me a hug, more for her sake than mine.
The camping trip was actually really fun, and I took loads of photos during it. My mom ended up not needing to come to shuttle kids to the school because there were enough parents who chaperoned to drive us.
I later pieced it together that dad had told mom that I didn’t want her to go when they were upstairs in bed. Dad lied about keeping a secret, and from then on, I knew that any ‘secret’ that dad wanted me to share with him was a ‘secret’ between mom and him, not he and I.
If I was a different kid, with a different heart, I wouldn’t be regretting this series of events. But I distinctly remember on the second night, we had decided to take a nighttime stroll to look up at the stars and they were big and pretty. And as I looked up at those stars, I remember thinking that I wish my mom was there.
So “I had survived my first three-way calling attack.” But to this day, I still regret voicing how I didn’t want mom to go with me.