I started smoking when I was fifteen, in the back of my high school with my friends. We would take a break from gym class and sneak out the back door. We would steal the cigs from our parents, who were also heavy smokers back then. It was the era, the thing to do. You could smoke on the train, on elevators, on airplanes, and no one would say a word because everyone was a smoker. Now, you can't even walk down the street with a cigarette. And not because you would get fined, but because you're embarrassed that you are one of the few people still smoking. Dirty looks are cast in your direction, and then there are the inevitable people crossing the street to get away from the smoke. You would think that you had some kind of disease or crazy look on your face.
I smoked for about twenty five years, (not heavy, but that's not the point). A pack of cigarettes lasted me two and a half days. Not bad, but not good. I quit a couple of times over the years for whatever reason. Being pregnant was one of them. But as soon as the baby was born, I was right back to smoking. It helped me cope with being a new mother, or at least that is what I told myself. It gave me three and a half minutes to myself without having to hear a crying baby. It kept me sane. I justified it to myself. It kept me from gaining weight, I reminded myself. I liked smoking and I was going to keep doing it because nobody was going to tell me what to do.
It's only been three months, but I stopped. It wasn't hard for me to quit smoking this time. I just did it cold turkey. It probably helped that I wasn't a heavy smoker. But I felt awful that my children were looking at me through the sliding doors as I tried to hide from them what I was doing. I would hate to be the reason that they started smoking, because they saw me doing it all the time instead of spending time with them. I hated kissing them with my cigarette breath, and it was hard not to kiss them because they are so cute and I just love them so much. I felt guilty that I couldn't run with them while they rode their bikes up and down the street, because I was out of breath. I wore my hair up all the time because I didn't want them to smell the smoke on me. I changed my clothes constantly.
But my children are saving my life. If it weren't for them, I would probably still be smoking. Thank goodness for my small blessings.