Three moments

I rarely write from a prompt but this was a prompt that was offered several days ago and I felt my heart flutter a bit with the immediate thoughts that came.

What are the three most memorable moments — good or bad, happy or sad — in your life? Go!

I am not sure that the following mishmash of memories are my three most memorable, but they certainly are my three most defining.

1. I stood at the top of my stairs with my aqua colored nightgown on. I was five years old.  My dad stood at the bottom of the stairs and he was saying good-bye.  He was leaving.  Forever.  I waved to him and innocently said goodbye with absolutely no idea what was really happening.  I knew it must be something bad because my older brother was crying.  As I heard the door close, my mother walked to the stairs and said to us both, “this isn’t an excuse to make bad decisions……buck up”. So there in an instant my emotions were stifled.  I stuffed them deep into my heart. I had no idea what all of this meant at five years old. It would take a lifetime of learning to understand this. This would be the portal, or defining moment, in which all my relationships were seeded.

2.  The girl was three years old and I was a miserably unhappy woman.  I was overwhelmed with the constant giving that being of mother to three little kids can bring.  I was in a miserable marriage and I had absolutely no idea who I was.  At that moment I was defined only by being a mom.  I rarely did my hair, makeup was slapped on with minimal effort, and my clothes were chosen and worn to hide my eighty pounds of extra weight, and to be comfortable. The defining moment came when the afternoon heat had taken hold of the house and the idea of kids napping was a big joke.  All of us were exhausted and cranky.  Because I had no sense of my self, I was incapable of knowing any sense of anyone else’s feelings or identity.  I was surviving. In an instant, I lost my temper.  I stood over my sweet girl and because of my rage, I saw in her eyes fear.  Fear.  Fear of me.  My world slowed.  My thoughts raced to a time when I was just a little girl and I feared my mom.  That moment I made a choice.  A defining choice. Never ever again would I be the cause of my children’s fear. Ever.

3. The doorbell rang.  His smile was soft and his eyes were bright.  The cold November air was brisk to the breath and stung the skin. I invited him in.  He extended his hand to offer me a gift. The moment that I took the gift my life changed.  The gift that was given was so far beyond the gift card to buy groceries for my kids first Thanksgiving in our own home following my divorce.  The gift was actually the defining moment when I learned to receive.  I learned to take in love from another person.  I learned to accept.  I learned to say thank you.  I learned that it is okay to be vulnerable.  I learned that I am worth love.

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