The power of CHILDHOOD

       It still amazes me how much power our childhood has over us as adults. But even more so the mystery in saying to my French boyfriend this morning: “I wouldn’t change anything about my life.” (Now in my seventh decade.)

I love that I grew up in Ithaca, NY, left for ten years, and returned to live here. That I live in an 1840s house divided into four apartments, mine with a huge picture window viewing a long field, a large pond, and a wide forest behind where coyotes howl near midnight. (I have owned two homes previously.)

That I am a dancer still dancing 4-5 nights per week. That I work part-time and control my schedule so I can dash to Paris/Nogent once per month to be with my French boyfriend, Antoine. (In his third decade.)

Yet, one decision I made as I raised two beautiful daughters mostly as a single mom, I regret. Erin is 15 and Megan is 12 when we return from a month of traveling cross-country  – in a rusty 150,000 odometer van – to camp and hike in many National Parks with which I have a love affair.

A new boyfriend had been kicked out of his ex-girlfriend’s trailer with no viable living situation available. I wasn’t really wanting him to move in but felt sorry for him and also unconsciously probably was afraid to say no and lose him. When I told Erin; she cried and said NO! I called her dad who lived 30 miles away and he came to our home to talk with us. I can still visualize the red sofa in our living room, and hear her father say, “Your mom has a right to her happiness.” I am sad as I write that I couldn’t be there, empathetic enough for my daughter’s feelings and needs.

Even though I was a green (one year graduate) Marriage and Family Therapist at the time; I hadn’t grieved enough of my own childhood pain to put my child’s emotional needs first. Erin and I have been to therapy together (in the late 80s) and apologized; but it wasn’t until one of my primal therapy sessions (in the late 90s) that I connected with a past life where I saw myself kill Erin (my daughter then too), during the Crusades. As unbelievable as this sounds to many, it was that session that helped me accept Erin’s distrust of me; her present friendly distant relationship with me.