Past or Present
By Cheryl Fonseca

I thought I had resolved my anger with my parents over the past by accepting that they did the best they could, and I had just expected too much. I even wrote an article about a year ago on this subject. (Robert let me know that one could do this, but only if one were able to truly come to such an understanding). I must not yet have completely forgiven my parents, I just liked the idea of it.

Certain experiences in the present still manage to bring me to the painful past:

I recently went to one of my half brother's high school football games with my family. I thought it would be fun, and I wanted my brother to know I cared about him enough to drive to Orinda with my husband and little boy after work one night. We had a good time, but that night I couldn't sleep. Suddenly I was bothered by the whole event. My father

and step-mother have not missed one of his or his brother's games. They were so proud of them both, and showed constant support and acceptance. I was happy for my brothers to have such great parents (who are also preparing for sending them to college soon). But wait - what about my sister and myself?! Again I was bothered.

When I was in school I was on a softball team. We had an after-school game, and the whole experience was new to me. I rode the bus to the other team's school to play. I had no family rooting for me, not even a friend. It seemed as if everyone else did. It was an awful experience, so I quit the team. I was asked to play basketball later by a coach who was watching me play at lunch one time. I declined.

My husband and I sent ourselves to night school for about 6 years and we're close to getting our 2 year degree. I still need to go back when our children are older. My sister just barely gets by. I realize these thoughts of jealousy are selfish and harmful and I try to deal with them honestly, but they seem to come back occasionally and in a big way.

I have a wonderful life, a great family, a house to live in, and a job that I enjoy. It seems absurd to feel such negative emotions when things are going so well. I had no idea I'd have such a perfect life when I grew up. I know my father loves me and did the best he could in his situation at the time. I love him and enjoy his company.

Another recent experience from the present took me to the past. This time it was positive, but still in the past. The sight and smell of an acacia tree: I remembered being a teenager, walking up the road and feeling happy for no particular reason. Still, I would like to be able to experience life in the present without having to return to the past.