Posts Tagged With: fear

what kind of mother does that? or love and hope make me whole

It’s no secret I have mother issues. Normally they’re on the DL, you know, just kind of there minding their own business. But Tuesday? Well, Tuesday they threw a f**king parade.
YBW and I were with our therapist Tuesday. And while discussing something (that at the time seemed) completely unrelated the teenage girl in me was triggered.

*****
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my mother literally removed all trace of me from my home. She packed up all my belongings in black trash bags and left them on the porch. When my father took me to pick up my things, my mother would not allow me in the house. She actually stood behind the storm door long enough to deny me entrance before closing the big door in my face. I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to my brother. I never got to hug my Grandaddy. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my cat.
When I was fifteen years old, my mother sent me to live with the father who abandoned me when I was five.

I know you want to ask why.
Believe me, I asked it enough. In fact, the last time I made the attempt to speak with my mother about it, she politely told me she was not going to discuss it. That it was over and there was no reason to go back to it.
UM…NO REASON TO DISCUSS THE SEMINAL MOMENT IN MY LIFE!?!?
So, to answer your question, I don’t know why.

I do know that she didn’t like the fact that I was beginning to become my own person. I no longer wanted to be a girl scout. I no longer wanted to be a memember of the CAR. I didn’t want to do the things she forced me to do. I wanted to do things I was curious about, interested in, not just what she decided I would do.
I wanted to play softball. I wanted to take theater, and dance classes.
I played briefly at not turning in homework and skipping classes. That didn’t last long, I love(d) learning and understood it was ridiculous to miss out on something I loved to spite my mother.
I started dating a very sweet guy that was instantly hated simply because of the timing. He was kind and caring and was actually good for me, encouraging me to be more focused in school, etc.
I wanted to choose more for myself. I was weary of living the life she designed, I wanted to be my own person.
Of course, this is actually developmentally appropriate behavior for teenagers.
And I was not drinking. I was not doing drugs. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like.
That was not what my mother wanted. She expected me to do all the things she wanted me to do. She expected me to live my life for her. She didn’t want any part of a daughter that didn’t keep her head down and do what she was told.

According to my father, my mother called him one day at work and when he answered she said, “If you don’t take her, I’m putting her in a home.” His reply…? “Who is this?”
(I learned this as a 40-something year old woman)
Yeah, these two f**kwits were my parents. Yay. (sarcasm, just so we’re clear)

I didn’t do what she wanted me to so she got rid of me.
Let that sink in. I didn’t do what she wanted me to do so she got rid of me.
No conversation, no talk with me about ‘getting it together’, no warning. Just me calling her from my dad’s one afternoon in the summer asking her to pick me up so I could come home and her telling me, “You’re not coming home.”
Let that sink in. “You’re not coming home.”
That was her solution to her problem of me. Her first born child, her only daughter. Her solution to the problem of me not doing what she wanted was to get rid of me.
What kind of mother does that?
*****

And even after my deep-heel-digging-in resistance, this all (and more) came out in our therapy session.
So. Many. Tears.
I didn’t want YBW there. I didn’t want the therapist there. I’d rather never have to be there, but of course, ‘there’ is always down deep in me.
Here’s why I don’t want anyone there.
First of all, it was the most damaging moment of my life. In that moment I was taught that if I didn’t do what someone else wanted/expected/told me to do, I was so unlovable that I needed to be disposed of. In that moment I learned that without knowing all the rules all the time I was never going to be safe. In that moment I learned that home is nothing but a noun.
Secondly, I have so much shame regarding every single bit of that.
I am so ashamed it happened to me. Ashamed because I feel like I’m betraying my mother if I tell this story.
No one should experience what I did. Even secondhand.

Of course, that’s not how therapy works. And I’m a weeping, gasping, snotty mess talking about how my mother didn’t love me. Talking about how I was sent away from my little brother. How I was sent away from my own precious Grandaddy.
I wanted to run as far away from that room as my feet could carry me. I hated every single moment of sharing that story. To be perfectly honest, I would rather have removed my own tongue than share that experience.

After the worst of it, I talked about Grandaddy. How he was the first man I ever loved. How he taught me how to give and receive love. How he taught me to express myself and not be passive aggressive like my mother. How he once told me that if anything every happened to my mother, I never had to worry, I didn’t have to leave him, he would keep me with him always. How until the day I left Thing 2 in the NICU, the day he died was the worst day of my life. How even though he could sometimes be a grouchy old man, he was chock full of love.
Our therapist suggested that I’m kind of a grouch in love because that’s how I learned to love.
I actually laughed out loud! She’s right.
I’m gruff but loving.
Velvet hammer, much?
I love the way I was loved by the only adult who loved me consistently and unconditionally.
(I suspect the girls will experience a great “Ah ha” moment at reading this.)

What kind of mother throws away her child because she can no longer control her?
My kind of mother.
All my issues with trust, with always having to know and understand what the rules are. All my issues of never feeling good enough, or truly lovable. All my issues regarding feeling safe. And my issues regarding house vs home, wondering if I’ll ever feel at home anywhere again?
These are directly related to that trauma.
That trauma she caused.
The one she flat refused to discuss later on in our lives.
And still I have the guilt. Still I have the shame.
It feels like, I shouldn’t talk mad shit about my mother. I should protect her. She loved me. She did the best she could.
How every single bit of it still feels like my fault.

Our therapist asked YBW to be my fifteen year old self’s ‘champion’ as a way of having an adult speak to my mother.
First he told her that I am an amazing, beautiful, loving, woman and mother no thanks to her.
He told her I was fractured, but she did not break me.
He told her that I learned love from her father and that he is a part of me every single day and she is not.
He told her that I am a really wonderful mother, and she should never have told me otherwise.
He told her that because I’m so lovely he was blessed and honored to be my husband.
He told her a great big f**k you!
And finally, he told her that all I wanted to do was go home, why wouldn’t she let me go home?

Years ago, I used to say, “Home is where the Roby is.”
I didn’t realize it was because I felt so f**king homeless. But I was determined to create a home where I felt safe, so wherever I was, that was home. Only I couldn’t love myself unconditionally enough, so that didn’t quite work out.
That’s why I’m so hell-bent to build a home with YBW that’s just ours, not one he already had, not one with any of our kids in it. Just him and me, in the home we create. Where we’ll both feel safe and sound and loved and wanted.
One day…

This story has been in me for thirty two years.
This experience of sharing it has been upsetting me for the last couple days.
I’m feeling pathetic and needy. I’m wanting to be snuggly. I want to, as Grandaddy used to say, “crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after you”. Mostly I want reassurance that I’m lovable and not disposable. YBW’s on it.
I laid my head on him this morning, and he asked if I was OK.
No, I’m not remotely OK, I told him, but I feel better now.

Here’s what I know now.
If I hadn’t been sent to my father’s I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband, and while that may have been a bonus, I would not have my girls. And my girls are everything!
I wouldn’t have been in British Lit senior year of high school with a boy I took no notice of, but twenty years later took great notice of. So much so that six years later, we got hitched.
I wouldn’t have Sundance, or Sally. Don’t want to live with out them!
I might not have Jessica, or Nicole, or Becca in my world.

I know that I’m not the perfect mother, I know I’ve f**ked shit right up for my girls. But, I do know that I did everything in my power to make sure they felt loved. To make sure they felt safe. To make sure they could make their own choices.
It is my ultimate hope that they know I love them more than anything else. Ever. In the history of the world!
For me, however bad things were, I wanted them fiercely and I wanted them to know that.

I know that I’m flawed.
Jesus, by this time in my life, it’s simply part of my charm!
I know why I’m flawed. I know my responsibilities in my flaws. I know that these flaws make me the woman I am. And steaming hot mess or not, I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me a whole woman.
For how much more could I ask?

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

do it anyway

This right here.
do-it-anyway
This has taken me a lifetime to truly understand.
A lifetime to understand how to actually ‘do it anyway’.
If I’m anything it’s stubborn. Sometimes stubborn is tenacious…but only when you’re using that stubbornness as motivation to keep ‘doing it anyway’.
Being tenacious doesn’t mean I’m not frightened sometimes.
Fear will always try to drive. I say, make that bitch ride in the back and ‘do it anyway’. You never know what surprises await you.

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my defining moment as a frog in cold water

Acute stress feels like it will crush you where you stand.
I promise you it won’t. Your fight or flight instinct will kick in and save you. Acute stress feels overwhelming and most of us would do anything to get away from it. But, acute stress won’t kill, no matter how much you believe it might.
Chronic stress is what will kill you.
Chronic stress is like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s already boiling! That’s when one of two things happens. Fight or flight kicks in to save you, or you just die.

I’m an expert in chronic stress. I’m that frog in the pot of water. I was lucky enough that my instinct for flight is so strong. It saved my life.
I spent seventeen years with a man who emotionally abused me.
His sabotage so subtle, his manipulation so nuanced, it was poetry of pure unadulterated evil. He brought passive aggression to new and frightening depths. For the most part I was unaware on a conscious level. I went about my daily life feeling anxious without actually realizing it.
Sometimes I would wonder…Why did I require so much sleep? Why did I turn so much of my focus to my children? Why did I feel nauseous when he would come home? But never for long because there would be some sudden kindness and I would smile and believe him when he told me everything was lovely.

But on some level, I did know what was going on. I did know that something was amiss. I focused on my children to be a buffer between him and them so he couldn’t treat them the way he treated me. I presented the picture of the perfect little family to the rest of the world so no one would realize that he was not what he seemed.
I was scared of him. And scared isn’t a big enough word, but I’m honestly too lazy to thesaurus right now. He frightened every fiber of my being. Somehow I knew he’d never lay hands on me. I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t realize the internal wounds could occasionally be worse.

He used to tell me that I was crazy. That I was certifiable. That they would put me in a straight jacket in the padded cell and that was where I belonged. He told me no judge in his right mind would give the girls to me. I had nothing and I was crazy. He told me that he would take the girls and I would never see them again.
I would have done and would still do anything for my girls. So I stayed with this man.
He read my journals. He read my email.
He even tried to sabotage my friendships…he had to do that carefully because he didn’t want to show his true colors. I was lucky that most of my friendships were strong enough to withstand his tricks.

I was trapped in a hell I helped create.
Every single day of my life I was scared.
Every single day of my life I was anxious.
Every single day of my life I was angry.
I was miserable. My girls were miserable. I was failing at being a mother. I was failing at being a person.
I was the frog in the pot of water suddenly aware that I was boiling!

This was the defining moment.
Would I die in that pot of boiling water?
No! I would save my own life!

The chronic stress was literally killing me. I was dying. I had to do something to preserve my own life.
I told him that I was done. I told him that I was empty and dead inside. I told him that I had nothing left to give. I told him I was leaving because I knew he would never leave.
When I finally left, he acted as though he was surprised. As though I’d never expressed any of my concerns. I didn’t even argue. I just walked away.
That’s when he turned on my girls. He manipulated them. He used them as weapons to hurt me.
That’s the only thing I regret about leaving him…what he did to my babies. You want to hurt me? Come at me directly.
My poor babies had to suffer for me to live.
That doesn’t seem right. But it was how it was.
A dying person is a desperate person.
I had to save my own life.
They’ve moved through that part of their lives. Will they ever heal? I honestly don’t know.
I know the only one who came out unscathed was their father. He has no clue what he’s done…or he doesn’t care. How’s that for crazy?

I was told by friends and family that I was strong. That I was brave. I felt neither. I felt as frightened as I’d ever been. I did what I had to do to stay alive.
It was the hardest thing I ever did, saving my own life. I only wish I’d been strong enough to do it sooner. Of course, the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until the water comes to a boil…

I’m writing about this because of a conversation I had with my friend Nora last night, and a conversation I had with my sister in law today. Nora and I talked of relationships and life and celebs and sports stars we’d like to have our way with. We talked of previous lives and choices we make. We discussed “winning” at divorce. (When your life is better than it was before AND better than your ex’s current life.) We talked about being mothers. We ate pasta and drank a goodly bit of wine. We were “just girls” together, but we talked of important topics.
She’s actually the one who verbalized the frog in water analogy.

This afternoon I had a distressing conversation with my sister in law about her relationship with her children’s father. Apparently their state of chronic stress has escalated to acute and he’s announced he’s leaving. Knowing him as long as I have, I think he’s having a bit of a temper tantrum and it will blow over and they’ll go back to their life of chronic stress.
It is killing my sister in law. Now, there is a fairly decent amount of her stress that has little or nothing to do with him. She has some of her own shit to sort.
I told I knew what she was capable of. I suggested she tap into that deeply rooted power and make a better life for herself.
She expressed her fear.
Fear can ride shotgun, get it out of the driver’s seat. Fear will never drive me again. But it sure as hell likes to go along for the ride. I was scared half to death to make that huge change. Especially considering what impact it had on my children.
She’s not ready to do that hard work. She will eventually have to decide to save her own life or she will die.

I can’t run other people’s lives.
Some days I can barely run my own life. Seems that way lately.
I have stress in my life. But it’s acute stress. It causes an immediate reaction. And though my flight instinct is the strongest, I’m learning to fight. Fight the good fight. Fight for what’s right.

I fought the good fight by flying all those years ago. The fight to save my life. Because I tell you, I was dying. Not metaphorically dying. Actually. Physically. Emotionally. I was actively dying.
I learned the most important lesson about myself by saving my own life.
I learned that I can do anything.

Categories: divorce, loss, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius

When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Well, this morning I woke rather grouchy, so why don’t you just pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius.

I had bad dreams again last night. My body exhausted when I woke. These dreams fill me with pain and anxiety. My body produces adrenaline and cortisol but has no outlet for it because I’m sleeping. So I’m flooded with these stress hormones that my body has to somehow reabsorb. No wonder I’m grouchy AF.

Normally, I can remember and recount the particulars of my dreams. These icky ones aren’t like that. All I can call up is imagery and the way it felt.
There was water in my dreams. It was dark and rippling. This water made me fearful. I was frightened that it would drown me.
My one true pathological fear is to smother. Drowning is essentially the same thing. So what is happening to me that I’m experiencing this level of fear and anxiety?

The logical part of my brain considers this:
Every thought we have causes a ripple. Every choice we make causes a ripple. Every action causes a ripple. Ripples move away from the starting point out in all directions and pretty much looks like this.
ripple

So when you’re having many thoughts, or making many choices at once it rather looks like this.
ripples

The feeling part of my brain sees only that the water is dark and moving rapidly. I become frightened. I become overwhelmed. I begin to panic. Stress hormones get released. I go to my brain stem and enter fight or flight mode. I don’t understand what’s happening to me but I feel that water is going to overtake and drown me. I’m not frightened enough to wake. I’m trapped in this cycle of fear and anxiety.
Here’s the part that I cannot wrap my brain around. I never enter the water. I’m never swimming or fighting to stay afloat. I’m just paralyzed by fear at seeing the water. I absolutely know that it will drown me even though I’m not actually in the water.

What is happening to me that this is my sleep?
What am I struggling with so hard?
What needs to be done to quiet my brain?

Apart from today and of course, Monday, I’ve been feeling overall well emotionally.
Obviously something is stuck and whatever it is needs help getting sorted. This cannot be my sleeping life. My fear of smothering is something that rides with me every single day, I can’t have it decide to try and drive once I’m sleeping.
Sleep is supposed to give your body a chance to rest. To restore. To recharge. Right now sleep is making me its bitch and wearing me out.

Something’s got to give.
My instinct to run is present. And getting harder and harder to ignore.

So, when being alive and able to think and enjoy and love is precious privilege, you’re waking from deliciously restful and restorative sleep, not from stressed and scary dreams.
While I appreciate the sentiment,Marcus Aurelius, I’m not feeling especially privileged today. Maybe I’ll get lucky tomorrow.

Categories: me, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

we cannot function from a place of fear

I have to admit I’m uncomfortable with what I’m seeing on social media after the events in Paris Friday night. I know that people honestly believe they’re being helpful and supportive, but I can’t see how painting over your facebook photo with the French flag makes a real difference. The desire to rally around the people of France is real and natural, but does it need a hashtag?
People lost their lives. Their families are grieving. A nation, the entire world grieves with them.
I absolutely want the ability to wrap my arms around all the people of the world to help them feel safe. I can’t do that.
Perhaps that’s what the flag overlay is about, feeling like you’re helping when you can’t actually help.
I suspect a percentage of those people have done it just because it’s in vogue. The French people can’t see their flag superimposed over all these photos. Only the friends and followers can see. This is why I question it.
It feels so politicized to me.
I see people talking about hanging a “closed” sign on the doors of the US. They want the people of Europe to do the same. Lock out anyone who might bring terror.
Are not the people fleeing their homes and country running from the threat of terror?

I sound like I’m judging. I’m not.
I’m uncomfortable because it almost feels more like an agenda than solidarité.

I have not changed my facebook profile photo and I won’t. I have not gotten on a soapbox. But that doesn’t mean I’m not frightened and horrified by what’s happening in the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the people of France, or the people of Lebanon. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the Kenyan students.
It means I don’t know how my support can and will manifest itself.
I choose not to speak about what I don’t know, what I struggle to understand.

I don’t understand this desire to kill innocent people to create chaos and fear. How does belief in God warrant that kind of action? What kind of God wants that?

I am blessed to know that the people I love are safe. My heart aches for those who cannot say the same.
I’m staying quiet because I don’t understand.
My quiet does not reflect my lack of concern, love, or desire for peace.
I send love and light into the world trusting that it will grow.
I don’t need a flag for that.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

on being a mom

I write a goodly bit about being a mom. It’s all I ever wanted to do with my life, be a mom.
That might not sound like I had great aspirations when I was a little girl, but it’s the truth. All I wanted to do was grow up and be a mommy.
I made sure I found someone who would make that happen as soon as I possibly could. I was twenty two when Thing 1 was born and twenty six when Thing 2 was born.
I’ve been a mom half my life…well technically not till March when Thing 1 has her birthday…but speaking strictly mathematically, half of forty four is twenty two.

My goal was to raise strong and independent girls. They would be ready to take on the world when the time came.
Of course it all got derailed along the way.
We lost everything in 2008. Our business. Our home. It was the final straw that killed my already broken marriage.
When that happened, there was subterfuge and betrayal. My first daughter was used maliciously as a pawn against me. I wasn’t able to protect her from that. She walked headlong into it. She has since told me: I’m so sorry. I didn’t know how bad it was for you. Daddy brainwashed me and I believed him.
I was able to protect my baby daughter a little better. But only for so long.

We were trapped in a waking nightmare. I was the one who was brave enough to change it by moving out. The plan was to bring Thing 2 with me and leave Thing 1 with her father. She wouldn’t have come with me even under duress. Thing 2 used to worship her big sister and wanted to be just like her and in this case, she temporarily joined the “I hate Momma” team. She chose to stay with her sister instead of coming with me.
This was not my first mistake.

To keep myself sane, I turned my back on Thing 1. She was horrid and my pain and anger made it so simple.
We tried to come back together several times…each time driving ourselves further apart.
Until she tried to take her life. I’m the one she came to with the desperate plea: Please help me.
None of that was in my childhood mommy-ing plan. But I did what was necessary to keep her safe. To keep her alive. Even though I believe she still resents me for it.
It wasn’t better after she came back from the hospital. She didn’t seem changed. She just seemed more angry.

A few months later, we got into a physical brawl, she held me down by my hair and I bit her so hard there was a perfect ring of teeth marks on her arm but she didn’t let go. Thing 2 was screaming and crying and I think that’s what finally made her let go.
Her therapist saw the bite mark and reported me to child protective services. The investigation showed no real abuse and it all went away. That doesn’t change the fact that my baby daughter had to tell a stranger: No, my Momma doesn’t hurt us.

Thing 1 damaged her relationship with Thing 2. They have good moments, but nothing like the way they used to love each other.
I don’t think Thing 1 understands this and Thing 2 won’t ever feel brave enough tell her.

Their father stood back and let it all happen. He watched with twisted joy. I was being punished for my sins and he didn’t have to lift a finger. He just planted the ideas and watched as my first born and I not only ruined our relationship, but she ruined any chance of a real and positive future.

I am not without fault. I didn’t just let her go, I pushed her away. I only loved her because she came out of my body. I didn’t love her for herself. It was easier to not love her than be in that much pain every day.
Shame on me. I should have fought harder. For her.
I was manipulated by the situation just as she was. Only I’m the grown up. I should have worked harder to keep her safe.

Thing 2 and I went through the hell of her not wanting me to be her mom anymore. She was “tired of always being responsible for my happiness”. She’s not entirely wrong. But neither is she right.
She wasn’t responsible for my happiness. She simply brought me joy.
I’ve learned that telling someone: You’re my favorite person in the world. can be too much pressure. However much the truth it is.
When I came here we chose for her to stay there. I wanted her to understand that I respected the life she’d built for herself. School, friends, theater. I knew in my gut she needed to come with me. But I didn’t feel like I could force her.
She accused me of setting her up to fail. That if I hadn’t “protected” her all her childhood she would never have been in that situation.
I never wanted her to see her father for what he really is. I wanted her to simply love her dad.
I also never thought she’d ever be alone with him.

I failed her too. Not because I was the buffer but because I didn’t trust my parenting gut. I didn’t want to make her unhappy so I ignored what I felt was best for her.
She’s lost. She has no support from her father. And I can only do so much from five hundred miles away.
I can’t fix that.

The masochist in me thinks they like it this way. They can always blame everything on somebody else. They can blame me for the way it turned out.
They don’t remember when it was good. When we were safe and sane and actually happy. They only remember how awful it was.
I think Thing 1 blames me for not protecting her from her father and his manipulations.
I blame her for disregarding the first fourteen years of her life.
I know Thing 2 blames me for protecting her from her father and his manipulations.
I did what I thought was best for them. Most of it I would do all over again.

If I had been braver I would have left their father sooner. Maybe I could have protected them better that way. I know I could have protected myself better.

I am trying. Trying to reconnect with these girls of mine. They’re so jaded. They’re so hard. It pains me so to see them this way.
Thing 1 is trying too. I believe we both want more than we have. We want to love each other freely and without fear. It is so hard.

She sent me a message last week about a wedding gift for YBW and me. I told her she didn’t have to give us a gift, that her participating and loving and supporting us was enough.
Then she wrote: I feel like I don’t show you how special you are to me enough and I haven’t for a long time and I want you to know that you are and that I’m happy you’re starting a new life and that’s a special thing and I want to give you something to commemorate that.

I don’t show her how special she is to me enough either.
I don’t remember how to do that. I shut her out for so long to feel safe that I worry I’ve lost my love for her.

All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. I was so damn good at it for so long. And then I failed epically.
I can’t make that go away. For any of us.
All I can do is sort my own shit and then I’ll be ready to move forward with them.
I’ve worked hard to sort mine. I think it’s finally time to help sort theirs.

The love of a mother for her child is easily understood conceptually. The reality of it is indescribable. There are truly no words to express the ferocity of it.
I know they don’t understand. I know they listen and hear. But how can they possibly understand? Perhaps one day when they become mothers they’ll get it.
What they do understand is that nothing they can do will truly make me not love them. Therefore they continue to test that theory.
They don’t do that with their father. They both know intrinsically that to test his love would be to lose it. Perhaps that’s the curse of being their Momma. They’re going to try me to see if I break because they know I won’t.

This is my love letter to them.
Being their mother has been perfect and horrible and the happiest and most painful experience of my life.
My love for Thing 1 is remembering how to be unconditional. My love for Thing 2 is trying not be be too much pressure for her to handle.
Thing 1 was the most perfect human equivalent of all my hopes and dreams. I loved her because she was my wish come true.
Thing 2 was the gift I didn’t even know I wanted. I fell in love with her because she was there.
There’s a difference between loving and being in love. But one does not diminish the other.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

standing at the crossroads

I’m conflicted about how to move forward with this Thing 2 situation. YBW and I have been talking and we’ve come up with two scenarios. The first is we can make her come back here, force the legality of the custody agreement that says she lives here full time. The second is we tell her to come get her belongings.
I’m getting feedback from people who love me who are just trying to be supportive. These are some of the points of view I’m receiving:
“If it were me and this was (child’s name) I would hold her accountable for the decision she made.”
“I quite quickly come to the point that she is the child and you are the adult. Make her do what you and (her father) agreed to.”

Interestingly enough, I agree with these points of view. I believe she should be held accountable. It’s the actuality of executing them where I get lost. I can easily force her to be here, but I she is the variable. Or rather how she chooses to behave is the variable. I have no idea what she will be like upon a forced return. Will she make everyone’s life miserable? Will she choose to take out her dissatisfaction on the people who live in this house?
See, if she makes me miserable, I can handle that. If she makes the boys miserable it’s something completely different.

If we just have her come get her things, she goes back to the stagnant life she left. The life that made her feel she lost a year. The life in which everyone around her, her beloved friends, are moving forward and she is standing still. The fact that she’s gotten her GED only means she’s no longer truant. Her friends are in school all day, she’ll be at home waiting. This is exactly the same situation she lived the last year. How long before she’s back against the wall, desperate and miserable and in need of change?

I can’t answer any of these questions. I still don’t even know how to feel about the situation.
I am, however, in a place where I no longer have the desire to worry neither do I have a willingness to “fix” the situation for her.
I’m certainly all about “the principle” which means holding her accountable for her decision to make a home and life here.
But I’m unwilling to squander any more energy or tears for someone who isn’t ready to look or move forward.

Being a teenager is hard. There is no denying that. I was a teenager…actually I was a teenager who was moved against her will during her high school life. It was hard, my God was it hard. I was sad and angry but I persevered, I got to start again. I have realized it may have actually been what was best for me. So I think Thing 2 should find her gumption. She should rediscover her survival instinct, the one that saved her life twice before she was two months old. She should straighten her spine and march headlong into her fear.
She didn’t really try.

I was finally able to talk to my friends and mentor, she liked what I said about respect, that Thing 2 asked to be respected, but was not respectful. She told me the angst was all in the wrong place. That it needed to be placed on Thing 2 where it belonged. She should be sitting with it. Whether it changed her point of view or not…well it didn’t really matter. She asked if I told Thing 2 I thought she was a coward and a quitter. I don’t think I did.

I called to talk with Thing 2 yesterday, she was “busy” could she please call me back later? Has she? No. I will call her again today. I will say what I have to say about respect, I will tell her I think she’s a coward and a quitter. I will wish her well in her endeavors. With a heavy heart.
My heart is heavy because she’s cutting herself off at the knees. She’s pushing opportunity away with both hands.
My heart is heavy because she betrayed YBW, who has been kind to her from the moment she showed up.
My heart is heavy not because she hurt me, but because she hurts people I love, most specifically herself. I can’t protect her from herself.

I’m still standing at the crossroads. Arguing each side against the other and still not sure which way to turn. But I’m going to start moving one way or another, simply to be rid of the angst. Without a doubt it is in the wrong place. It’s not mine to carry. So I’ll drop it at the crossroads and walk away slowly.
Wish me Godspeed.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

she’s not coming back

How many tears can you cry for one particular person? I suspect tears are unlimited, but I have grown weary of shedding them over my child.

Thing 2 got on the train Sunday to SC to take her GED test, she was to get back on the train to come home today.
She called me Wednesday with news of passing all four required components. She has successfully completed her high school equivalent exam. I told her I was so glad, that I knew she could do it and then I said: I can’t wait to hug you!
And she said: That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.
Then she told me she’s not coming back. She wants to stay in SC with her friends.
Roundhouse kick to my soul.

At that moment all I could think was, YBW forked out tens of thousands of dollars to finish the basement, to build a loo and kickass closet and bedroom for her and she just “isn’t coming back”. She couldn’t think of that before we started the construction?
I am aware that she believes she’s been here struggling to belong and it’s too hard to keep trying and she is comfortable with her friends and that’s where she fits.
She told me lots of things about why she made this choice, asked for respect regarding her decision.

I love that girl differently than I’ve ever loved another human being in my entire life.
I want what’s best for her but my God, I’m so tired of trying to decide what that is.

I am desperate to talk to my friend and mentor, but she is in the middle of a family crisis and I cannot disturb her. She would help make sense of it, or at least she would take my ‘lemons’ and make her delicious lemonade and I could have a drink of it which would ease me enough to decide how to feel about it.
I can’t talk to Sundance, my pain is too fresh. I can’t go down the rabbit hole with her right now, I’m not sure I could climb back out. I can’t let my negative feelings take over, I have to tread carefully. Not for the sake of Thing 2, but for my own sake.

I feel hurt and angry. Thing 2 came here desperate to start over. She needed new clothes. She needed to have her hair done because of a terrible cut she’d given herself was growing back a hot freaking mess.
She needed help being a girl in the real world again.
I was more than happy to provide these things, as well as the help, love, and support she’d been lacking. She’s my baby. I will always do what I feel is best for her.

I’ve been going over and over the concept of respect.
She asked me to respect her decision. Asked me to respect her.
She has not considered that she asks for respect without giving any.
She doesn’t respect me. She doesn’t respect YBW. I’m not actually sure if she respects herself.
I’ve always considered respect a two way street. I never expected to be respected unless I was respectful. I taught my girls that. Perhaps I taught it poorly.
Thing 2 doesn’t respect me yet asks I respect her. I’m unsure how to proceed…in deed or thought. I have no idea what the practical value of that realization is.

I am disappointed. I am disappointed in her. Disappointed that she is a coward and a quitter, she has let her fear and loneliness control her actions.
I am disappointed that I couldn’t help her any more or better.

I am acutely aware that she is in control of her own actions, but still feel the sting of their reflection on me.

I want my baby to be healthy and content. I don’t believe she’s healthy but her friends make her feel content.
Perhaps it’s time for me to just let it go. Finally let her go. My concern with that is what to do when she needs me after I’ve let her go. I’m not sure how I can trust her again.
She betrayed me.
She betrayed the home we created for her.

I don’t think I choose to make her come back. I have the right to, legally, but I’m not sure I’m willing to put YBW and his Things through anymore negativity. If it was just me, I think I’d force the issue and make her live where she’s supposed to according to the letter of the law. I’d suffer the indignities and let her suffer, because she’d come out the other side better off. But I don’t want to put them through it. I’m not even sure I want to put her through it.

Thing G said: I’m sad she’s not going to live with us, but I understand wanting to be with her friends.
Teenagers are a curious breed.

She deserves better than the life she’s settling for. I have fought the hard fight to give her a better life and she’s turned her back on that. Because she’s lonely. Because she wants to be with her friends.
I can’t compete with that.

I can’t do anything but love her. But what does that mean? Does loving her mean I allow her to disrespect me? Does standing up for myself mean I don’t love her?
This is where the question of respect comes into play and I just don’t have any answers.

I’m tired of fighting the good fight. Tired of trying to do what’s best for the people I love when it doesn’t matter or mean anything to them.
How about somebody respecting me? Fighting the good fight for me?

I want that girl to have the best opportunities to create the best life. She can’t see that. Perhaps she doesn’t want to. Either way, I think it may be out of my hands.
I remember a discussion with my friend and mentor regarding always loving, always having an open heart and open arms. I do love and will always love my Thing 2. I’m afraid I won’t always have an open heart or open arms. I’m afraid the hurt will close them. I’m not sure I could bear that. For either of us.

Categories: loss, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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