Saturday, June 6, 2015

When National Donut Day replaces the other "Days" that matter.

Dang! I haven't posted since May 18th? Sorry about that. Since then, I have had A LOT on my mind. If you follow my FB page, you know that I have been without my priority medication for over a week now. Fortunately, I still take a mood stabilizer and another antidepressant that lifts my mood just enough. Sadly, the med that I'm missing has horrible withdrawal effects after missing just one dose! I won't bore anyone with those highlights, let's just say that it has kept me from working on my book this past week because I just can't focus with the fog in my head. However, that little set back has given me some time to think. Ya. I know. So for this post, I'm going to focus on spring time and the inevitable, annual celebrations of Mother's and Father's Day. You know where this is going, right?

Mother's Day has always been a bit of a conundrum for me. I have no idea how I celebrated with my biological mom prior to age 11 when she left. I know that in the absence of her I let my step-mom fill that void, but to be honest, I don't remember any Mother's Day moments with her either, prior to my high tailing it out of dodge, upon my graduation. After that I did celebrate with my mom in one way or another. At least during the times when she was actually speaking to me. Yet, with all the ramblings and confusion in my brain the past few years, I can't remember the last Mother's Day I shared with either of them. I'm sure there was a card and probably some flowers for my step-mom. Maybe a breakfast or brunch with my mother? The only real memories I have are being with my own daughters and being a mother myself. For me, this is more than enough as they are the lights of my life and being their mom is the greatest gift bestowed upon me. However, quietly, I have always felt a loss, a sometimes terrifying sadness because saying "Happy Mother's Day", quite frankly means very little to me. I enjoy reading the words on all of the greeting cards, finding just the right meme to post on social media, but I really could be saying Happy National Donut Day. Or some other day, because I actually really, REALLY feel something about donuts. So, yeah, there's that. However, I'm used to that feeling and for all intensive purposes, I brush it off and revel in the delight of my own daughters.

Father's Day is something completely different for me. I have memories of what this day means to me. Crayons on construction paper with words haphazardly displayed. Snuggles and hugs that meant everything to me. Barbecues with good food, lots of laughter and a sense of what a family should be. My father, my dad, was two parents rolled into one. He delighted me, as a child, with gifts and affection which I now know were only replacements for an intimacy he could never really give me. As a teenager, he was "cool". The kind of dad that any girl wants. Not too strict and easily wrapped around her little finger. It was easy to manipulate him and play on his guilt for standing idly by, while my psyche slowly deteriorated one dysfunctional moment after another. Finally, as an adult, greeting cards that actually matched the way that I felt, poems created to supercede anything Hallmark had to offer. More barbecues, more laughter and more connection with family, albeit my own desperate attempt to cling to something that never really existed because our emotional distance had already settled in like the roots of and old tree. Even when a tree dies, its roots remain, still grasping, gasping for anything that will help it grow again.

Which leads me to today. I have no relationship with a mother or a father, the terms mom and dad subtly escaping my vernacular. Some might say I spend too much time in the past, yet am I really living in the past when the absence is occurring in the present? It's easy for my parents to walk away from me. I suppose it's just as easy for me to walk away from them. Abandonment, for me, is so familiar that I don't even have expectations that it will or won't happen. It's more of an acceptance that it is and has always been the only option. Being a priority has never been something I've clung to. Careers, secondary families, narcissistic behaviors and any other issue that can claim a certain amount of brain space have always come before my own desperate delusions. It's okay, though, because it is just as it has always been. No gains, no loss, except....utter, heart wrenching, deep down to the core sadness. Sadness that leads to anger. Anger that leads to hate. Hate that leads to unequivocably begging to escape my life in any way possible. Chaos, destruction, recklessness, pain or death. It never really mattered. It doesn't really matter now, except for the fact that now, I have the tools to place those emotions in a box and close the door. Only bringing them out when it's necessary to explore and only allowing them to seep through long enough for a good cry and then be put away again.

I've struggled with the phrase, "blaming your parents" because it seems to be so taboo. As adults we can't blame our parents. They did the best they could. Buck up, grow up and get over it, right? But, what if it is still happening? What if your parents live just minutes away from you and they are just gone? What if they made the choice to choose anything, anyone else but you? Do you just pull your big girl panties on and say, screw them, their loss? Or do you act like a human being and cry, scream, yell, because they left you, they didn't forgive you, they didn't choose you? Do I blame my parents? Damn straight, I do. Do I forgive them? No. Not yet. Do I block them out as if they don't exist? Yes. Yes, I do. They made their choice a long time ago, even though I know they think our current estrangement is because of me and something I did or something I can't accept about them. Their choice was made a long time ago with the moment a hand was raised, an emotional scar was ignored, a secret was buried. The only difference between leaving me now and leaving me then is purely logistics and time. Oh yeah, and I'm an adult now so it's not that bad. Right. Keep telling yourself that.

So, I live vicariously through the relationships of my friends and cousins and their bonds with their parents. I hang on to that and my own relationship as a mother with daughters, and know that my parents had it wrong. They have it wrong. They are wrong. I get it, I'm an adult now. Shake it off, right? For all intensive purposes that is true. Yet inside of my newly discovered confident and independant grown up self, is a little girl who cries herself to sleep some nights, when she recalls a certain memory. A little girl who searches for someone to be proud of her accomplishments and successes, a little girl who sometimes needs a hug when she is disappointed and who sometimes needs to be held when she falls down. So, grown up me and little me hang on to each other, we hug, we laugh, we play and I remind her that she has done nothing wrong, she is safe and she is unconditionally, unequivocally loved. I dry her tears, brush the hair out of her eyes and kiss her goodnight. Then in the morning, I wake up, go about my adult business. I parent, I work, I produce and complete. However, once in a while, there is that moment when I get THE phone call I was waiting for, or my dogs rambunctiously twist me around  and break my finger, or my daughter achieves some worldly accomplishment. I automatically reach for the phone to call one of two people who I instinctively want to share with, celebrate with or just simply help me deal with some pain. Then I remember, there won't be any phone call and the little girl inside me tugs on my shirt and says, "hold me and I'll hold you and by the morning you will forget who wasn't there then and who isn't here now." "When you wake you will do adult things and have adult times until you tuck me into bed, singing softly as I cry myself to sleep... again."

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