Thursday, June 27, 2013


I believe every single human on earth harbors a regret or two. Since not one person is perfect, that means we're all subject to regrets. No doubt some have fewer...or more...than I do, but regretting something from the past is common among us all.

But what good does the emotion do? Nothing, as far as I can tell, but surely our regrets might teach a lesson so that we don't repeat the action. Even at that, there's no way to duplicate the exact situation.
So, we're left with our regrets. Mine are buried deep in my subconscious, I think, because I live in a kind of Pollyanna world.

"Today will be better than yesterday. Nothing is as bad as it first seems. Unless we have committed a egregious sin, then all is trivia on which we don't need to dwell."

Wow, this sounds good. However, it doesn't work in reality.

We still regret.

While cleaning out our attic and ridding it of useless items, I saw dim writing on top of one of the seven boxes of Mason canning jars.

"For Celia. Six qts pickles, six qts black-eyed peas." Mother always sent food home with us when we returned to Houston.

I confess, because I regret, that I told Mother I did not want to learn how to can black-eyed peas. This was in 1969, and I was a young bride. She insisted we go pick a bushel full of the peas, shell them, and spend the rest of the day canning them in Mason jars.

No, I told her. I don't want to. It would take all day.
Of course, she became angry and told me one day I'd need to can food, but I wouldn't know how.
My curt answer was that I would buy peas in a can from the supermarket.

Did she really want me to learn to can peas? I wonder. Now, in my mature years, I believe she wanted to re-connect that good mother/daughter relationship we'd always had as I grew up. I loved my mother, but on that day, I put a crack in  that relationship.

As most humans, I've done things I wish I hadn't, whatever the degree of negative behavior. If you're human, you will make mistakes and some will hurt someone else.

Some regrets are wishing we'd done something earlier, better, longer, or stronger. People have asked me over the years if I regretted getting married at barely age eighteen, and wished I'd gone to college first. The answer is no. I wanted to go, but my parents had not one cent they could give me to attend college.
Anyway, I was in love and wanted to get married. It all worked out fine, and I believed I made the right choice. I still do. Even though at age twenty-seven, the yearning to go to college became so overwhelming I asked my husband if I could. Yes, dear ones, I asked. We had two pre-school children, and the decision had to be a mutual one. Since I worked while he finished his last year of his bachelor's, he said yes, we'll work it out.

And we did. The four years were not easy, but they paid off in the end.

My regret? I probably did not pay enough attention to my children. Yet, they grew up very well, very accomplished, and worthwhile adults. We're so proud of them.

Regrets. Oh, I could list dozens, but they're mainly trivial, not life-changing or earth-shattering. But the thing about canning those peas sticks with me to this day.

One day I'll figure out why this is so important to me.

Why did I turn down my mother? I could have picked, shelled, and canned those peas very easily. But I chose not to.

And I made her angry.

She was angry at me for many years afterwards, too. But I've realized she was angry at the world...not just me. And so, I try to forgive myself of that one transgression.

The subject of regrets comes in handy when writing romance novels.  I love to create a character who regrets one thing or another, and maybe that regret makes him/her angry, unhappy, stand-offish, or even intolerant.

Using that bit of knowledge, I can then make the plot revolve around that character trying to overcome his regrets and move a woman...fall in love...become a better person.
Sigh....a love story in the making.

In Texas Blue, Marilee Weston regrets turning down Buck Cameron's proposal. She feels inadequate, insecure, and inappropriate to become the wife of Buck Cameron, the town's shining star, a young man from a respected family.

In Texas Promise, Dalton King regrets hurting his wife by leaving for a year to work the western part of the state as a peace officer.

In Texas True, Sam Deleon regrets he does not know how to love a woman with his heart and take care of her.

In the fourth upcoming book, Texas Dreamer, Lee King regrets running away from home at age 14, leaving his wonderful family wondering where he is and if he's still alive.

Lee King is the younger brother of Dalton King. He learns that Dalton is one of the richest men in Texas because of his oil production companies and oil refineries in Houston. Why does Lee now look for part of his family? Because, by a stroke of good luck, he owns a huge ranch west of Fort Worth and oil has been discovered there. He seeks out his brother for business advice only, but on that trip to Houston, Lee receives much more than good advice.

The fourth Texas novel
Coming Soon
Celia Yeary


  1. Celia, what a great post. I think of so many things like the example you gave, where my mom tried to do things to bring us closer, but I was rebellious and of course, young, and couldn't see that. There were things like that she wanted to pass on to me, but also wanted to use as an avenue to bring us closer--we struggled for many years for middle ground. I wish I had known then what I know now. I'm sure all was forgiven with her, being a mother, we tend to do that--and now that she's passed on, I just imagine her saying, "Well, I hope you learned something from that!" LOL I have to laugh. I know that there were regrets on her part too. She was really never one to apologize to us girls, but when she did, it meant she'd really been thinking about it and felt it was something that was the right thing to do. We have to just forgive ourselves, sometimes the hardest thing to do, and move on. As Maya Angelou said,“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” When you're young you don't know anything. That's why youth is wasted on the young.

  2. Cheryl--well said. I believe the most hurtful feelings come from our own family. I think this is the case now, and always has been. Why? Families should be close, love each other, etc. I see some families and believe this is working fairly well, then why do many more not work?
    We always hurt the one we love--be it our mother, father, husband, sister, whatever.
    Mother never understood me--that was our problem. The other sisters did sort of as she expected, but to have one who moved far away, and then decided to go to college with two small children at home? And became a teacher? That was beyond her imagination. She criticized me so much for "ignoring my children." Shoot, they were just fine, and grew up as wonderful young people, and adults. I've heard Mother say to people, well, two of my girls have good jobs, but one became a teacher. Ugh. That hurt.
    She never understood.
    Thanks so much for telling me about your mother. We do tend to forget and move least some of us do...but I don't think my mother did.

  3. Celia, this blog brought tears to my eyes. It spoke to my heart. I have a FL friend with whom I've shared some regrets and we often speak of "Reeder's regrets and Watson's woes" when we do this. As you know, we have had similar relationships with our mothers. And now that she is gone, I am often regretful of the times I missed to make her happy, but as you indicated, we loved each other but sometimes didn't like each other. I've been blessed with a daughter who is like her daddy and we have a close relationship which I don't deserve (Karma, you know)
    I loved the Maya Angelou quote and wish I found it easier to forgive myself. But I am glad I have a conscience that makes me aware when I have hurt others and makes me want to be kinder and more understanding. Too soon old, too late smart.

  4. Celia, what a touching post! I have many regrets, some small, some huge. There are many things I wish I could do different, words I could take back, but part of living is learning from our mistakes. I hope I've learned from mine.

  5. Linda-It's difficult to have a good relationship with a person who is just mad at everything, like my mother was too much of her life, and especially as she aged. You can knock your head against a wall trying to make her happy, but a person such as this must make herself happy.
    I've always said that I can easily entertain myself.
    This came to mind this week when the boys were here. They do a good job of entertaining themselves at home, but out of their familiar surroundings, they often were bored--the two older ones--not the young one.
    Yes, Cheryl does come up with good quotes and comments. I, too, like Maya Angelou's quote.
    I glad you got something out of my ramblings, and as always, thank you so much.

  6. Lyn--no one is perfect, and that is an understatement. We don't get do-overs, do we.
    Funny, even some things I've done or said that I probably shouldn't have, I don't regret, really.
    But those that are truly hurtful...yes.
    You said it all--we hope we can learn from our mistakes.
    Thank you for coming by.

  7. Ah yes, I've struggled with a lot of regrets as well, but I'm getting to the point where I can think: you know, you did your best, and how do you know any other decision would have worked out better? So I agree with the quote from Angelou.

    It's sad when parents are so unhappy and so inside themselves they can't just appreciate their kids for who they are instead of what they wanted them to be. Big mistake on a parent's part.

  8. I know, Celia, I did some similar things in my youth, too. Most of it is what I didn't do, not what I did do. I made my mother cry once with my harsh words. When she died, I played that scene over and over in my head and beat myself up with it. I discounted all the things I did for her and all the loving thigs I said because I just hated that day when I was a teenage know-it-all. She was my favorite person on the earth.
    After she died, I promised myself I would not make that mistake with my dad. Pop and I were always butting heads, but I decided to devote my time to him whenever I could and get to know him better. It was the best thing I ever did with my parents. I finally asked all those questions I needed to know the answers to about why he did certain things I didn't like. I learned so much about him I might not have known otherwise and we became closer over the next 6 years. Sadly he died suddenly while he was on vacation when I was 33. I had no regrets about my dad because we found resolution.
    A very thoughtful post, Celia.

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  10. What a lovely post. I have wondered, after many years of regret,if an apology is believed and accepted. Maybe another post for you on that subject?

  11. LK--the older I get, the more I let many feelings go that I usually worry about--why did I do this, and why didn't I do that?
    Useless exercises, aren't they?
    As to children, I think few parents can allow their child to be whatever he will be. We want to guide, instruct, demand, whatever...and sometimes that really gets in the way or relationships.
    I know a man who has three grown single accomplished children, but all three turned against him. Why? He tries to tell his adult children what they're doing wrong-in other words chastising them as though they were still children. The funny thing about this is that it is the exact reason he, himself, turned against his own father.
    Now, isn't that weird?
    Thanks for you comment--and yes, youth is wasted on the young.

  12. Sarah--you have a real success story with your mended relationship with your father. That is a rare thing, and it happened because you opened your heart to him. I praise you for that--it couldn't have been an easy decision. Bless you...and thank you for sharing that story.

  13. Maybe, Christi. I'd have to think about that. It's not easy to apologize in the first place, but near impossible after many years.
    Thank you for visiting my blog.

  14. Very true, Celia. I do have many regrets about what I could have said to loved ones who are no longer with me, yet I didn't think of doing so, or it felt too uncomfortable at the time.

    No use crying over spilt milk, they say, so I try not to do so, but at times something will remind me and trigger a response.
    Morgan Mandel

  15. Morgan--yes, it's easy to say don't cry over spilt milk, or forget what you've done--you can't do anything about it now.
    Then why do our transgressions--often small compared to some other things I could think of--nag at us often, making us feel guilty and uncomfortable.
    If I had tried to apologize to my mother about not canning those peas, she would have lectured me again about it--I knew her very well, and knew she would throw it back at me.
    And truly, that's what kept me from trying to make peace with someone else here or there-I'm certain they would not be gracious about it.
    A few years ago, I had a blow-up argument with a friend from church. We weren't close, but she did something to hurt me that I can't even tell you about. It simmered, and since I was the one perceived as the wrong-doer, it left me in a spot. I didn't think I was, but I knew this person thought I was.
    So, one day in church this person came to me with arms wide open--"Oh, Celia, I can't stand this. Will you forgive me?" I thought she thought I was to blame, but she saw herself as to blame. I told her, "oh, by all means,'s forgotten as of this moment." We both cried--it was one of the best moments.