Friday, October 28, 2011

The Not-So-Wonderful Years

So, this morning, while dragging my two children through Wal-Mart for our bi-weekly shopping trip, I started to get annoyed. Anyone with small kids understands what an undertaking it is to be alone with two kids under 3 yrs while trying to do substantial grocery shopping. By the time you get home, you feel like you've been at the gym all day.

Load the kids in the car, unload the kids and load them in the shopping cart. Load the cart full of everything you need, unload the cart onto the belt, load the cart with the bagged items. Unload the cart and fill your car, unload the car and carrying everything inside the house, unload the kids, settle everything in its proper place.

While loading the groceries into the trunk of my car, I had a moment of clarity. I'll be the first to admit that I sometimes have selective memory. I might forget about a huge chunk of time in my life until the memory is needed to work out something else inside my brain. While loading the groceries and grumbling about what a pain the ass it was, I remembered.

I remembered a time when I lived in my car with only a cat and a handgun to keep me company. I remembered being so hungry I ate the cat's food and then felt guilty because it meant having less for her to eat.

I remembered living in a stranger's unfinished, unheated attic in the middle of an Ohio winter and being so hungry I stole food. I remembered finally getting a shitty job as a ski-lift attendant and how much I looked forward to freezing my ass off in the cold at 4am in clothing that wasn't adequate just so I could enjoy the free lunch that came during the middle of every shift.

I remembered a time when I was so broken from abuse and bad decisions that no amount of alcohol, drugs or pills could dull the pain. And believe me, I gave it a valiant effort.

I remembered living with a man I thought I'd marry and then finding out he was sneaking off to screw his best-friend--a MALE best friend. I've got no problem with gay guys, I even think it's kinda hot, but not when it's my fiance and I have no idea it's happening.

So, I looked at my beautiful babies who were being blessedly patient as I loaded the trunk of my crappy car and thought...No, spending the morning braving Wal-Mart and strong-arming twenty pound bags of dog food is not so bad. Not bad at all.

My baby may be teething, my 2.5 yr old may have decided potty training is for losers, my yard might be a mess, the roof might leak, the second bathroom may never work, the damn dog probably won't ever stop shedding and my husband can sometimes be a jerk. But, I'm so far from where I was. Even on the worst days, this life is better from so many of the others I've lived.

My husband doesn't cheat or abuse me(and... hey... he's pretty hot too). My kids are handsome and healthy. The house is warm and mostly dry and we have the money to spend on enough groceries that it's annoying to cart them around.

Memories can be painful, most of mine are. The great thing about remembering the Not-So-Wonderful Years? It makes the good years look even better.