Don’t Look Back

Moving Forward Series

by

Meena Dhanjal Outlaw

This week I went to my youngest child’s graduation.  He will no longer be a kindergartener.

As he embarks on his journey as a first grader I can only wish for what I have always wished for with all my children.  I want him to be happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.

It still surprises me that I can feel so emotional when it comes to the well being of my children.  I am no different to any other parent sitting in the auditorium of the same elementary school that Jamie’s older sister and brother also attended.    There’s a definite sense of joy and pride that this wonderful child is mine.  Along with that is the deep desire to see him do well in his life.

It is in moments like these that I tend to look back and wonder if I had done it all over again, what would it be different?

When my oldest went to that same elementary school life for us was very different.  She had already been scarred from seeing me fall only to never be able to walk again.  Then, the final blow was when her dad left.

I thought I could handle everything, but I have realized that it is seeing my children suffer that causes me the greatest pain.

Her life was very different from the kids in her class.  She had a Mom that was disabled, and she grieved her losses all the time.  The mother she knew never came back.

She was three years old when I had my accident.  One minute we were dancing and an hour later she watched me scream for help outside of our house.

How does a child get over that?  Of course there are long-term ramifications from that time in her life.  Because of it she struggled all through school.  Yet, I never gave up on her, even though she was giving up on herself.

Her brother who was three weeks old at the time of my accident suffered too.  The difference was he was missing a father figure in his life.  Divorce does a horrendous job of making children feel like everything is their fault.

I had to dig deep and through strength I was able to show my children what it meant to fight for a better life.

Academically, my son always persevered.

Raising a daughter is always tough.  If they are lacking confidence or have low self esteem, which trauma causes, then it becomes much more visible in their teenage years.

I worked tirelessly to insure they had every help possible.  From tutors, psychologists and trusted school counselors, I was able to make sure my children had all the tools they needed to become well-rounded adults.

However, no one knows the inner pain I carry around me that is for my daughter.

I want so much for her to see her true potential in life, and most of all, not to hurt herself anymore.  She has punished herself enough and if anything I have learned what it means to pray with conviction. I can only hope that she finally allows the past to stay there.

As I look around the school that she once attended I cannot help but think did I do enough?  The fact remains I am still doing as much as I can to help her.

It is through our children that we see so much of ourselves.  In her, I see the brokenness of the time we endured.  A broken Mom, a broken marriage and a broken home.

Light came into her eyes, as I got stronger, self-sufficient. By the time I had reached complete independence, she became confident in herself.  It was a beautiful sight.  However, her journey of self-discovery isn’t over, and the guilt I feel never ends.

When we returned home after the graduation, I read this story I found in a women’s devotional a friend had given to me seventeen years ago.

The last paragraph reads as follows,

He said very gently, yet with great joy, “Yes-the time is not long now.  Dare to begin to be happy.  If you will go forward in the way before you, you will soon receive the promise, and I will give you your heart’s desire.”

Therefore, as a family who is built up and no longer broken, but instead, full and bountiful, I can only thank our past for helping me discover our future.  I continue to push us through the tresses of life.  Hopefully and eventually, I hope to look back and say, job well done!

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