"I've not heard you say you regret anything in weeks."
"What?" I asked, puzzled.
"It's been a while since I've heard you say that you wish you'd done something or you wish you hadn't said something. Just an observation. That's all."
And she's right.
I'm free of regret, of guilt. Free of self blaming for things in the past that didn't work out, beyond cursing myself for things I never said to my Mother or my son's Mother or my friend, free of any guilt for the hurt of others, free of all of it. Because it's all worked out ok.
There are some people I miss terrible (Mum, Anje, Amy...) and always will. But they all knew I loved them sincerely. They knew it and I know they loved me too. So no more regrets for a goodbye I never got to say to Amy and no regrets for the Sunday afternoons I left my Mother's half hour early after visiting for dinner. Because she knew I loved her. They all did.
No more regrets for hurt shared between myself and former lovers and friends. No regrets for vicious words and I hold no grudges for their vicious words either (you're ok, Andy ;-)). Because it's all worked out.
Of those still here, everyone is happy, has found happiness and whatever has happened in the past has led those people to a place that they are happy with.
Of those no longer here, not one of them would ever want me to wallow in regret or in grief. We cannot help but miss them, but life must continue. That's an incredibly valuable lesson I have learnt from my son - a young boy with a man's heart.
And I am free. I am liberated of the 'what if,' the 'if only' and self doubting.
Now, pride. Pride for the fact I was able to be in those people's lives even if only for a short time. Pride at being a good Father (it's the job I am best at). Pride at being a caring husband.
I am so, so lucky:
- I have a son who is the apple of my eye, the sun in my sky and the music that turns the beat of my heart into a song. He is perfection in breathing form.
- I have a baby girl who is a Princess in her own right. Almost 10 months old and already skilled in the art of wrapping Daddy around her little finger. She's stolen my heart and I don't want her to give it back.
- My wife. My soulmate. She and I have both taken crooked paths to lead us together. We went our ways, both thought we fell in love with others and both repaired broken hearts before finding one another again. And it was worth it. I appreciate her all the more for knowing how much more she is than everything I have known before. We are imperfect. But we're perfect for one another. And our family is built of strong stuff.
So wave goodbye to looking back. The future's waiting in all its colour and glory.