Adapting – Are they late… or, it is happening all over again? – Erased mom
Things were iffy between us when my daughter decided to erase me from her life. But, I had been trying to have “family meetings” and impart life lessons. Mother’s Day had been just a few months prior and, according to her card, I was still a great mom.
I can’t pinpoint what happened between May and the day in July that I got the “I’m never coming back email.” I had told her in June that if it was easier for her to stay at her dad’s, closer to the school, during the week that it would be hard but that her education was more important (she was an A honor student). Now, here it was July and she never wanted to see me again, ever. And, she refused to see me to discuss it.
I saw her once crossing the street a few years ago. I remember thinking, this’ll blow over as I was waved, her brother attended the same school. I visited her guidance counselor, shortly after, she dropped out and enrolled in online school and, not wanting her to quit that too, started to back off and accept the new reality that was thrust upon me.
Now, I sit. The boys are 37 minutes late and my “good morning” text has gone unanswered.
Two years ago I would’ve had a panic attack by now. Or, gone into full confrontation mode. 11:39 and the reply comes, “Howdy” and something inside me, that’s been holding its breath, exhales deeply.
Earlier this morning I went through my notes, I keep ideas for things to break down and share here. I thought, I don’t feel inspired to write about anything specific. The universe saw fit to give me something to write about. That’s how it goes so, truly, be careful with your thoughts.
It’s easy, in this instance to cause a confrontation, to want a confrontation. It’s harder to keep your wits about you. To breathe the thoughts right out of your head.
One thing I’ve done over the years is, “accept what is.” Not in a rolling over kind of way but, in a “whatever it is, I will deal with it.” kind of way.
me: it’s 11:11, where are they?
also me: look, I know you just woke up from your nap so, you’re still a little fuzzy. Why don’t you go have some coffee?
me: but, what if they’re not coming?
also me: you know they’re coming. But, if they’re not, you’ll deal with it. Breathe. Go write and distract yourself.
I made it six more minutes before I text, “good morning,” and then I reflected on how far I’d come and, how I got here.
In the years since this began, the universe continued to give me lesson after lesson revolving around them being late. At some point, I had to just trust. I once trusted my daughter, who regularly told me I was the best mom ever and, yet she had fooled me. What if they fool me too? It’s a reasonable question, so let’s break that down. What’s the worst case scenario if they do indeed do what their sister did? Simple, my heart would shatter. It would shatter and I would be a horrible mess. And then, just like I’ve shattered every other time in my life, I would pick up my head, find my bearings and get the f*$k back up. Period.
Granted, there will be a big hot mess in between the shattering and that period, but it will happen. Why? Because why bother existing if you can’t find some sort of meaning in it? You be a good person, you do what you feel is right, you rail against that which is not right to whatever extent you are able to, and you find things to love.
You can’t force your love on someone. I write that and I think of Of Mice and Men, which always morphs into Looney Tunes, “and I will hold him, and love him, and keep him as my own.” You cannot cling so tightly to love that you smother it. You must love freely and without a want for the return of that love. Ha, that almost sounds like a joke – why bother loving if you don’t want the recipient of your love to love you back? Why open a door for someone you don’t know? If you open the door, wanting a “thank you” or some sort of acknowledgment of your kindness, and you don’t get it, what happens? You think, “@sshole.” Many people would.
What does that do to/for you? To be filled with this act of kindness for a stranger, someone you’ll probably never see again and then seconds later, venom. Such duality. Surely, some of it must linger? What does the residual of that venom do to the rest of your day?
Skip the residual poison. Your soul will thank you for it.
The same is true for wallowing. There is nothing to be gained from wallowing. You need to allow yourself to land somewhere in the middle. With the absolute right to wallow or be angry – even furious, and to choose not to instead. It really is that simple. Seems crazy but it’s all connected to what you think about. I’m not saying to never be sad or angry, that would be ridiculous. I’m saying to be aware of what is making you sad and what is making you angry and to give it the reverence it deserves without giving up things you really don’t have to, like inner peace. Or, happiness.
Giving up anger upon disappointment, or adversity, is incredibly challenging. Doing so requires you to give up most, if not all, your sense of attachment to outcomes. It’s a risky move but, when you contemplate that, dwelling on the outcome leaves you missing everything in the middle and, also leaves a hole if the outcome is not what you wanted, or thought you wanted. What does that mean? Sounds like a bunch of “secret” mumbo jumbo. So, put it in practical terms.
My daughter left me three years ago in July. For a long time I was angry, cataplectic, despondent. I wanted her back. I tried seeing lawyers, talking to counselors, trying to reach friends, to no avail. She was 16 and if I force her to comply through the courts, she could simply emancipate and be done with me that way, after a long, draining, expensive process. Once I had exhausted common sense requests for seeing an independent therapist, and was rejected by both my daughter and her dad, I had to let go of that want. I had to say, I love my daughter and, as much as it breaks my heart, and goes against my desire to just simply sit outside her house until the inevitable confrontation; and, knowing she was “safe” with her dad (I know a lady who’s son was currently a runaway living on the streets); and, knowing that her brothers were still seeing her regularly and could ‘keep an eye on her,’ I let her go. And, let the anger go with it.
It’s simply a decision that she made. And, some day she may regret that decision but, today is not that day.
As I end this very long post, if you made it this far I’m impressed lol, my boys are on their way. When you are faced with something, consider the impact of your reaction to it on your health. Both mental and physical. Remind yourself with kitschy phrases like “happy matters” and quotes like “Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent to throw it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” They may be kitschy, but they can help you remember to keep your cool and, not to wallow. And, when something you’re expecting isn’t happening, you can let go and reassure yourself that no matter what happens, you’re going to deal with it, because you are a warrior.
If you’re angry or sad today, go find something to love. Let that light fill up the darkness inside of you. If you can’t leave your house, go find something online. Puppy videos are always a game changer for me. So much joy and hope.
Happy matters, go and get it.