When our oldest daughter was about two she started carrying around a bag of dried beans. She called it her Baby Beans. She slept with it and wrapped it in blankets. When the plastic got holes, I'd sweep up the spilt beans and duct tape the holes. When there were too many holes, I bought a new bag. She was the sweetest, most kind hearted, intelligent child I ever layed eyes on. She was completely innocent and trusting like all little children - and so undeserving of the hell she had to live in later. She's now 20, in college, and seems to be doing pretty good. She acts like she has forgiven me for what she witnessed and the neglect she suffered during my addiction, but I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive myself. There are times the weight of the guilt becomes almost unbearable, like a couple of nights ago.
I was cleaning the pantry and picked up a bag of dried beans. Memories of tiny, brown-eyed little girl wearing a pink night gown, sucking on a pacifier, and tucking in her baby beans flooded me. This should have been a fond memory. If I had truly done the best I could as a mother, even with mistakes everyone makes, it would have been. Instead, I was bombarded by feelings of shame and guilt. I shut the door, sat on the floor, and cried until I couldn't cry anymore. I tried to change my perspective and think about the positive things now, but I just couldn't. All I could think is that I should have played her with her more and rocked her and the beans to sleep. I shouldn't have sat on the couch getting high. I should have put her feelings first instead of constantly worrying about a grown man. Later, I should have protected her from hearing the filth spewed from her father's mouth and sounds of fighting and crying. I should have made sure she was always safe and protected instead of getting high to escape my reality and leaving a small child to face hers alone.
I can't go back and change anything. It's too late. I know all I can do is the best I can from here on out and pray that she is more resilient than I am in overcoming the trauma. Recovery is great. It's much better than the alternative. Everyone benefits especially those that depend on you. But, still, there are some days that just suck.