A curious thing happened…
Thing 1 called me this week specifically to ask a question, but also have a chat. We discussed her question and then moved on to our chat. Somehow, Christmas came up…she told me it’s her boyfriend’s family’s big holiday and she was thinking she’d go there with him. I said, “Well your sister has decided not to come here for Christmas like we planned so I’m not sure how that’s going to affect your decision.”
She said she assumed that was what was happening and then VERY quickly said, “I’m staying out of it. It doesn’t have anything to do with me and I don’t want to be in the middle of it.”
I replied, “Oh I understand. It directly affects me and I don’t want to be in the middle of it.”
She told me her daddy called her that first day as soon as he got off the phone with me. (This struck me as odd, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)
She went on to tell me she spoke with Thing 2 to check and see how she was.
I said, “I’m not going to ask you what Daddy said because it’s none of my business, but I am confused as to why he called you.”
She said, “Mommy you need to know Thing 2 doesn’t hate you. She loves you very much.” (This was almost too much to bear.)
She asked, “Do you want to know what I think? I think it was very stressful for all of us when you and Daddy split up, and we were all exhausted. And I think Thing 2 doesn’t want to be stuck in the middle anymore. I don’t think you guys meant to, like intentionally, but you kind of used us to get at each other.” (This is when I almost had apoplexy.)
She went on to say Thing 2 is happy getting to do what she wants because Daddy is never home and you’re not there anymore and she can just chill. (Chill? No, she’s loving the fact her dad treats her like a roommate instead of behaving like a parent and I’m not there holding her accountable. Sorry…I digressed there.)
She said that Thing 2 just needed a break. Then she said, “Mommy, I’m not trying to hurt your feelings, this is just what I think.”
I said, “Bear, you are not hurting my feelings. I appreciate your point of view. I need to tell you something very sincerely and need you to please listen equally sincerely.”
“I have never intentionally used you or your sister to hurt your daddy. I have never manipulated either of you or him. In fact, I once told your daddy that I would sacrifice everything and walk away from you both to save you from that ever happening to you.”
There was a loooong pause…and then a very quiet, “Oh.” Then I heard her take a deep breath before she said, “I’m so sorry, Mommy, because I know now I did hurt your feelings.”
“No you didn’t. I just need you to know that my intentions have always been pure when it came to you and your sister, I have always put your best interests above everything else.”
“Thank you, Mommy.”
Then interestingly enough…both YBW and her boyfriend showed up simultaneously thousands of miles apart and changed the dynamic. So we said hello to the guys for each other, expressed our love and got off the phone.
Wasn’t that a peculiar bit of insight?
WHY IN THE HOLY HELL DID THEIR FATHER IMMEDIATELY GET ON THE PHONE TO THING 1 AFTER TALKING TO ME???
This has plagued me to no end.
Not to mention the fact that I know who the master manipulator really is. (And it ain’t me!)
Here’s the beauty of the way he functions…he has no conscious clue he does it, he just does! He couldn’t hurt me directly…he had no power to do that…what he had was access to the two people I love most on this planet. And THAT was where he went to work. He was able to manipulate them without their knowledge to hurt me. He used them to hurt me and punish me for hurting him. He was able to watch me suffer and never had to lift a finger.
And why does he get to be with Thing 2 and I do not if she needs a break from BOTH her “manipulating” parents? (I am fully aware I was being immature right there but my kid thinks I did something horrible to her and I DIDN’T!)
Why had I chosen to be blind for all that time? To make a choice to ignore who he really was?
For many long years I have wondered if I could trust him…but now I know I absolutely cannot.
(I didn’t want to shout at YBW about this situation even though it would have been safe to do so, and I didn’t want to talk with Sundance about it because sometimes she and I create a maelstrom that’s hard to escape and I already needed to be less insane about this situation.)
I wanted to write my daughters’ father a letter, one where he could see it in black and white…a letter that said nothing but “I statements”. (I don’t understand this, I am confused by this, I feel sad when I think or hear this…) I was not about to throw accusations or blame…I was going to make it all about me.
But fate intervened in the form of my friend and mentor.
She said, “Do nothing. You raised your girls beautifully and they will see everything one day. They will see you consistently took the high road over and over again. They will see your grace and dignity. He is what he is, a product of his environment, he is somehow emotionally stunted and you can see with your kind heart.”
That struck a chord deep within me and I know she’s right.
So I stop and I breathe.
I trust Thing 1 and I trust Thing 2. But most importantly I trust myself.
As much as I hate being on the journey I will admit knowing I’m on the high road makes it a bit less arduous. Surely the high road will get me to my destination sooner or later.