Regret is like Necrotizing Fasciitis. It will destroy you from the site of the wound outward. The wife said the luggage would be fine in the back of the truck---midday, crowded parking lot, nice restaurant. My gut told me otherwise. I second-guessed myself and simply moved the truck to where I could visually check on it. Walking back out to the truck the sight of cut tie-downs and missing luggage was like being punched in the stomach.
Each of us spent the ensuing hours in negative self-talk, accusing ourselves, berating selves, pounding on our hearts as the poison in the wound spread outward. We sensed the poison spilling out between us. Conversation was cold and stinted. A day in and we decided this had to stop. The past is past and focusing on the ‘what-ifs’ would only rob the present of all its’ joy.
I’m close to my daughter. The Daughter spent that week with us in the Sequoias. Haven’t seen her much since then; she’s eighteen and her calendar is full. Come September she will start college. I’m used to seeing her multiple times per week. Used to lots of face-to-face time. That will change. Most days I’m fine with that. Still I feel a disruption in my soul someplace---a sort of emptiness. Not all sadness. Its simply change and difference and growing up.
Sending The Daughter off to college is a predictable change. The news I received at work yesterday was much less expected. A different direction means I’ll be demoted. I’ll lose some autonomy, a chunk of freedom and some perceived job security. It rattles the cage a bit.
A friend noted that in her childhood the vacations where things went wrong were the vacations most remembered. The good stories, the ones we tell over and over are those where the victor overcomes. A cure is found for the creeping bacteria, the trip goes on despite stolen suitcases, and the daughters’ college experience deepens, moulds and changes her life. The man demoted finds joy in the midst of it all. The greatest regret would be a failure to push forward and persevere. Conflict colors the ending and makes it a happy one.