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What can be worst than regret?

by Waleska Sallaberry

As I sat next to my mom today I couldn’t help but battle between two very strong emotions, not sure which hurts more: the sadness of seeing such an amazing woman who dedicated her life to serving, loving and giving unconditionally been eaten up by the frikin’ Alzheimer or regret for not getting to know her like I should have.

How I wished I had known her more…what she went through, how she really felt inside going through divorce so young and raising me and my sister while taking care of her parents til their very last breath, juggling between her full time job and some extra gigs to make each and one of our dreams come true.  She was my inspiration to become the best I could in anything I did. I wanted her to be proud of me.

I was a wild child (OMG luckily I’m a Generation X’er when we lived free of cell phones so we don’t have proof of all the crazy shit we did back then) but even in my wildest craziest moments I would ALWAYS make sure I wouldn’t screw up just because I didn’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings in any way. I even got married at 22 just so I would not have to keep hiding from her that I was already living with my boyfriend at the time, even though I was already independent living on my own and my corporate job. She was very religious and conservative so the thought of us having sex or living together without being married was out of question.  I have to admit, I did have a goal of staying virgin til I got married. I didn’t make it but I did marry my first so that kind of counted for me (LOL) Many crucial decisions in my life were based on putting her first and I don’t regret any of them.

But now that I’m older, perhaps because I’m a mom, I wish I had taken the time while we had it. I was too busy being a teen, wanting to hang out and not miss out on anything, then college…more parties, boyfriends and lame excuses to not have to come home during the weekends. Then I graduated and it was my hunger to become the best and go up the corporate ladder as fast as I could, then marriage, heartbreaks, kids, a new love, a new family, 9/11, a new business adventure, more kids, soccer, surfing, more business adventures and no time for good heart to heart, soul to soul conversations while she was still clear. Perhaps I just judged her and assumed she wouldn’t want to talk about the things I wanted to just because it was me who labeled her as an extremely conservative person? I will never know. After the Alzheimer kicked in she became very frisky so again, I’ll never know it if was all repressed feelings or if we just never got to know her real self. I guess we’ll never know.

Because of my upbringing, I’ve always strived to be a present and open mom. I’ve always dreamed of having a close relationship with my kids, perhaps the kind I craved having with my mom. I think most GenXers have. But like all in life, we take for granted what we have and we crave what we don’t or think we should. Shitty ha?

Been a teen is not easy. There are too many emotions, hormones and shit going through our heads. As teens we strive for our own identity, we don’t wanna be like our parents and we think our parents are old fashioned, naive and clueless. Teens, especially nowadays in this digital era, think they know it all (especially now with so many ‘influencers’ out there sending the wrong kind of message) so I think it’s a harder task these days.

Been a parent is even more difficult as we want to save our kids from going through the pains and struggles we went through but hey! we don’t always [want to] learn from others mistakes…especially when a teen. As parents, we need to understand its their life and they’ll learn from their own mistakes. All we can do is be good role models and give advice without expectations and learn not to take things personally understanding it is just part of growing.

Wow, this wasn’t supposed to a parenting blog. I just wanted to share my pain of the day in hopes it can inspire anyone out there who still has their parents alive (and clear) to connect while you can. Time flies and our time here is a gift. Make every second, every action count.

I know my mom knows how much I love her and how grateful I am to have had her as my mom. I know she was as proud as me as I was of her. That’s not the problem. We shared so much together. My problem is not having more time now that I’m older and wiser to sit down and be able to have long chats about life and love. My problem is having her still alive yet not there to speak to. #F*ckAlzheimers

Don’t let your life demands and routine take you from what is really important. All we have is today. Don’t take it for granted. Don’t wait til next time or one day.  Pick up that phone now. Tomorrow might be too late.

Thanks for taking the time to read. And to my usual Spanish speaking readers…some days I flow better in English and so now that I don’t publish a Spanish only publication I’ll give myself permission to write in the way it flows as I know most read English or have an automated translator 🙂

Have an amazing day, be present, be grateful, be kind and LIVE WITH PASSION!

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