I believe in second chances. Each day I am reminded that I am glad to have received one.
When my husband and I decided to have a child, I learned all about second chances. By my fourth month of pregnancy, I was so depressed I would lock myself in the laundry room at work, hoist my ever growing body onto the top of the dryer and cry. By my sixth month I found myself sitting for a week in a psych ward. A month after my son was born, I took over two hundred prescription pills because I truly believed my child would be better off without me. There were no second chances for me, until my husband called the ambulance. What I have come to understand is that even though the paramedics gave me a second chance, I was the only person who could take advantage of it.
Right now it is early morning here in the high desert. I step outside, glad to have another chance to witness the comfort of the dogs curled against each other. I notice their tracks, evidence of their nighttime sojourns, frozen in the snow. As the light rises to meet the harsh jags of the Rockies, I realize that the sun will melt the snow and erase their tracks. No one will be able to accuse them of waking up neighbors or frightening the paper carrier. This morning, they will get a second chance.
As I greet this morning, barefoot on the chilly flagstone, I am glad to hear the cries of my son awakening, glad that I am here to listen for him. I am thankful for his positive expectations each morning, how he always wakes up smiling at me. Right now he believes that I can do no wrong for him today, even though I’m sure I was a bad mother yesterday. He already knows the truth. At the age of five months, he understands what I did not comprehend until a few short months ago; everyone deserves a second chance, even his less than perfect momma.
As I look at these mountains I am reminded of a man whom I had the privilege of knowing. He had a face so jagged and marked by hard living that it could have been a topographical map. He told me he looked at himself in the mirror every morning and said, “Thank you God for giving me this day, even though I sure as heck screwed up the last.” I am thankful for this advice and thankful to now have a diagnosis, bipolar disorder, a name for my particular brand of madness.
Some days I can get up and go to work, and some days I still can’t. But on those days I remind my self that I believe in second chances. On those days I remind myself that the hardest person to give a second chance to is me.
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