You can’t hide. I thought you could. I spent 30 years thinking I was doing a good job of hiding my unhappiness. Tonight at dinner I found out no one was fooled. My daughter told me she knew that I had been unhappy for years. She shared memories of finding me crying and lying on the floor. She has memories of me telling her it was selfish to want breakfast in bed on her birthday. She says she knew I was hurting. She just didn’t know why and as a kid, you aren’t there to save your mom. I know we all remember different things and I know she has some good memories. But I also don’t doubt her unhappy memories because she was right, I was extremely unhappy.
It made me really sad. I had to fight to hold the tears back. Crying in the middle of the cafe would not be a good idea. She grew frustrated with me because I had asked her to be honest and when she was, I got upset. I wasn’t upset with her honesty. I was upset with myself. I had spent all of those years working and putting so much energy into hiding my unhappiness when I should have spent all of that energy on getting out of my marriage and making a life for my girls and me separate from my their dad.
She pointed out, rightfully so, that many, many times I was superficial. I valued all the wrong things. I had let my husband’s values supersede my own values. How had that happened? In my effort to keep him happy, I abandoned what I knew to be true. And in doing so, I hurt my daughters. I only hope they can forgive me.
We all know that you do the best you can as a parent and some of us are lucky enough to make smaller mistakes than others. My daughters are wonderful people and I am so proud of them. They have their values in the right place. They remind me to love myself and that they love me. Learning tonight I wasted all those years trying to hide behind a mask has taught me just to be myself. Happy or sad, don’t hide it. Just be happy with who you are.