We Aren’t the Waltons

My mom got married on Friday. Her mantra for the day was, “this is a laid back affair,” and, for the most part, she pulled that off without a hitch. I, however, being a little less-than-laid-back didn’t exactly cope well with this. It’s a good thing that it was her wedding and not mine. Otherwise I’d be on Youtube under the title “Bride Goes Batshit”.  One thing is for certain, we are nothing like the Waltons. Each family member having their own personal history. Everyone with some sort of sad story. And still, we all come together when it’s time. And we all smile. And dance.

My grandma brought her sister to the wedding. My Aunt J is loud and has no idea when she is supposed to be quiet. So, right before my mom was walking down the aisle, she was pointing to the place on her head that the doctor had just removed the cancer and talking about the procedure loud enough that the back row could hear here. But later, in a moment that I don’t ever want to forget, my grandma took her out on the dance floor. The two women danced (West Coast Swing) to a song while laughing like kids. It was nice to hear her laughing loudly then. Their spirits are still so young. I admire that about both of them.

Speaking of young, I had another wedding this weekend. Two of my former students tied the knot on Saturday. It’s fun to see them grown up, but it’s a bit weird. We were at the reception and one of them looked at me and said, “Aren’t you only like four years older than us?” ‘Tis true, friends. I started teaching at the ripe old age of 22. They were juniors then. Crazy, right?

In some ways I feel as if I’m so much older than them. In others, I look at them and think about the fact that I was their age (and even younger than some) when I started teaching. Still, my life has gifted me with experiences that most people don’t have so young, so the gap has grown because of my past. While I don’t look at this as a bad thing, I sometimes wonder what your mid-twenties are supposed to be like. Did I miss out on something?

It’s like the people that live on the third floor of the apartment building across from me. They still decorate their apartment with Jack Daniels bottles and black lights. I’m sure, if I looked out of the window right now, they’d be in their living room playing video games. And, trust me, they are not all that much younger than me.

I’m always left with a question:

Would I have rather done that? Even though the thought of spending most of my free time staring at a television screen sounds wretched, I think the answer is simple. Yes, that would have been the better option.

My therapist says I can’t continue blaming myself for the places I’ve already been. She says that I continue to punish myself because that’s what I’m used to doing. I can’t look at the lives of others and say, “Yeah, that is what I should have been doing,” because then I’m not giving myself credit for where I am now. Truthfully, I’m a bit anxious because she’s going on vacation this week and I won’t see her until the following Thursday.

I keep hearing her words to me while she’s not around and I’m actually starting to believe some of them. It’s nice to know that I can and will come out of this in due time. 

It’s nice to feel comfortable in telling people I have PTSD. 

It’s reassuring to feel happiness and comfort in a new apartment, in a new city, in a new school building.

I’m starting to see tiny little pieces of the old Fina smiling at my through my reflection. I think she’s just waiting for me to realize that she’s been there all along. I think that Fina wants me to hug her and tell her that I’m ready for her to take over again.

I can’t wait for you guys to meet that girl. She’s a catch.


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