Before I had Donovan I smoked. When I fell pregnant with him I stopped. One time (no, not at band camp…) we had gone away for a fishing weekend together. Happy, (that’s my hubby) myself and all three boys, along with some friends of ours. It was lovely, the kids were playing and enjoying the pine forest and getting fantastically dirty everyday and we – the parents – were enjoying good company and relaxing at the waters edge.
At one point I developed a serious craving for a cigarette. So I decided seeing as we were relaxing and on a little getaway that I would have one. I said as much and asked my friend who was with me for one of hers. Mark was standing nearby and heard this and disappeared suddenly and I soon developed a very unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach.
I went to look for him and found him in our bungalow sitting up on the top bunk huddled in a corner. Concerned I asked him what was wrong and he wouldn’t say. I should have left it at that and let him sulk but I didn’t. It finally came out that he was angry at me for having a cigarette because I had stopped and he didn’t like it if I smoked. Shocked by his reaction to this one little ciggy I panicked. I told him I was so sorry and I promised him I would never do it again and so on and so on…
What I didn’t realize back then was that I had handed him the power. I should have said to him that he didn’t have to worry about me smoking, I was only having one or two and that I could do what I wanted because I am an adult and I do not need to explain myself to a 6 year old. But instead I overcompensated to try to keep things good between him and I. And gave him power over me. And he used it over and over again to manipulate me and his father.
I didn’t realize it then, only many years later when looking back on that situation. It wasn’t his fault though, it was mine. He was six and didn’t know better – but I should have. If there is one moment in my life I wish I could go and get a “do–over” on it is that moment.
I know it was a defining moment in our relationship.