Don’t be too sure of ‘someday’

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Nothing’s wrong just as long as
You know that someday I will.

Someday, somehow
I’m gonna make it all right
But not right now.

– Someday by Nickelback, 2003

Someday.
Someone close would ask from time to time, “Someday, do you think you’d like to look up your father?”
I would always answer, honestly, “Sure, someday.” Then I would quickly change the subject. Every single time.
Broken. Like far too many people, I am a product of the proverbial “broken home.” I was luckier than most, I suppose, because my home broke long before my memory started.
Like many non-custodial parents, my father got lost somewhere and disappeared completely from my life before I could even form a memory, let alone an attachment to him.
In my late teens we reconnected – or tried to – but the baggage between us tripped us up.
We went our separate ways in a flurry of angry notes and missed connections, each saying something hasty, and nasty, in lieu of something deeper we had no ability to express.
Young, smug, possibly stupid and definitely too proud, I knew in my heart that someday we’d work it out. Someday, somehow, I was going to make it all right, but not right now.
Always, and forever, I kept that “someday” in mind.
You know “someday”? So many of us have a “someday.” Someday we’ll get in touch, someday we’ll make up. Someday they will make that first step. Someday we will.
There was always someday. What I never saw coming was that someday I’d answer the telephone and learn my father had the audacity to die without giving me a chance to say – anything.
Most of us, I think, are very vulnerability-averse. We will tend to avoid doing something because it might disappoint, hurt, embarrass, or end badly.
I’m sure anyone living with a family feud, falling out, or unresolved difference knows well of what I speak. You can feel justified, indignant and – my personal favorite – self-righteous! It’s all so black and white.
Regrets. Please send regrets only. We regret to inform you.
It’s quite polite, this regretting. You regret you can’t attend the party. We regret to inform you that you didn’t get the honor, the credit, the job. Taken at face-value, regret is such a little word. Why, then, does it feel so big?
Regret, I know now, is the culmination of “someday” turned to “if only.”
If only you could have one more day. One more chance. Not to get it right necessarily, but at the very least, to get it done.
In hindsight, done is better than perfect. You see, I was waiting for the perfect moment. There was going to be a time that would magically present itself and I would set things right. I never doubted for a moment this would happen – someday.
That very smug conviction is what allowed it to go undone. Then, one day, one moment, I found myself on the wrong side of eternity from the one person I needed to spend that someday with.
Gone. Let me tell you what I wish I’d known last month, last year or sometime in the last decade: “Someday” will slip past when you are unaware.
You’ll be unloading the groceries, balancing the checkbook, maybe complaining about the weather, and your someday will have slipped past, like a whisper, unknown to you. It’s like the wind – that “someday” – you can’t catch it in your hands.
Regret, on the other hand, is a hurricane force that knocks you completely off course. It is the ache in your heart. It is the knot in the stomach; the conversations in your head that should have been said out loud much sooner.
It is your child asking, “Can you try not to cry today mommy?” and you thinking that, no, you can’t promise that. Maybe someday though.
Regret is a chance not taken. The path not chosen. Or, more succinctly, the pride not swallowed.
Reach out. If you can read this and you relate to it then you are too close. Do something about it. Rewrite your story. If you have unresolved relationships, issues, old business to attend to – do it!
I’m not going to lie to you – it might lead nowhere. It might end badly. It might hurt your feelings or your pride.
Yet, I can assure you that the simple act of trying can do wonders for your peace of mind. I would like more than anything to be able to say with complete honesty that “I did everything I could.” But I didn’t.
Now I am left to stamp my feet, cry out loud and rail at God and anyone else who cheated me out of my last shot at making “someday” work out right.
And finally, in the end, it won’t change a thing. I don’t get another someday. I get pain, guilt and regret for pride not swallowed before it became too bitter a pill to take.
Worse than any of these, however, is that I get to be alone with the whispers in my head and their endless recitation of “If only …”
So, have your pride. I’m done with mine. Just remember, please, that when it comes right down to it, if you keep waiting for “someday” to make things right, “regrets only” might be all you ever get.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is done with “someday.” She welcomes comments c/o kfs@epohi.com; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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