Forgiveness isn’t divine

I meant what I said in my last post – I really am moving on from the drama of my father. (Okay, okay…I’m starting to move on.)

Of course I’m still thinking about it; one forgets these things as easily as one walks into Mordor. During my daily perusal of Dear Wendy, though, I came across a link to a Slate post by Emily Yoffe, the site’s current “Dear Prudence”.

She starts, “What do we owe our tormentors?” What follows is a discussion, with references to several experts and studies as well as anecdotes of famous family issues, about the difficulty in letting go of these kinds of relationships – as well as the danger to the victim of not.

One of the things I haven’t mentioned on here, but have said more than a few times to my mother, is that a big reason I initially held back from sending a “kiss-off” letter was because I couldn’t bear to have it on my conscience if my father suddenly decided to make good on the threats of suicide he’s made for as long as I can remember. I know in my rational mind that he is a troubled and ill and self-centered man, and that regardless of his own justifications the decision to take his life (or not) rests squarely on his shoulders.

However, I have to contend with a strong emotional core. When I went to the police in 2004 and my parents finally separated for good, I struggled for years with feelings of guilt that it was my fault, not his, that our family was torn apart. It didn’t matter that I could see (and was living) the positive changes that night brought to us; inside, I blamed myself for not keeping quiet and wondered if my mother and brother blamed me too. It’s a twisted, vicious cycle, and not one that I want to jump into again.

Yoffe says, that’s okay. “Sometimes the best thing to do is just close the door.” I couldn’t agree more…but I will admit that it’s so nice to see someone else saying it too.

Hello darlin’…it’s been a long time

I’ve been hiding in the blogosphere for a few months now. Well, not actually hiding – I’m just writing more over at my now three-month-old blog, From 0 to Baby.

That’s right – if you didn’t get the memo, we’re expecting! (Expecting what, you say? Well, according to 3 of my readers it could be a cyborg but we’re fairly certain it’s a baby.)

Conversation

 

Josh certainly isn’t lying – it’s been a busy year. Brian and I:

  • got married in June
  • decided to buy a house (and got pregnant) in September
  • found out I’m pregnant in October
  • closed on our house in December and promptly tore the place apart
  • are moving in February
  • are due in June – two weeks before our first anniversary!

If this isn’t the fast track to adulthood, someone please tell me what is. On the plus side, we can get all of this celebrating out of the way and spend the next few years just living this life that is coming together around us. (And, you know, celebrate with others – we’re all about sharing the wealth here!)

Of course, it does mean that I’m neglecting (again) writing as much as I want to, and really should. It’s a difficult thing to accomplish when your world is a roller coaster and it just came off a major hill and went straight into a covered loop. (Not that this is a problem – I love roller coasters.) Still, I know I need to make the time for it. Even when I don’t have anything substantial to say (like now), it’s just nice to sit in front of the screen and get some of my thoughts out. Writing is, after all, the first part of writing something good.

So hopefully here’s to a shorter hiatus, and if you really want to keep up – I’m always talking about the kid. 🙂

Mrs.

 

I don’t feel married.

I mean…there are moments. Like the first time I referred to him as “my husband” in casual conversation. And the entire day I spent running around to change my name, even though that feels pretty normal now as well. And yes, the cramp in my hand from writing another batch of thank-you cards.

But otherwise…life goes on.

To me it says something lovely that one beautiful day served as a celebration of the life we are building rather than its definition. Our marriage began well before we met at the altar, in the lessons and experiences we’ve brought into this crazy wonderful life. Our families have already blended into a fantastic dysfunctional unit. We aren’t in-laws or outlaws, we just…are.

I don’t feel married…but I feel complete.

 

A little bit of Christmas joy…maybe.

Sorry I suck so much at blogging, blog. And sorry, followers who are ostensibly interested in what I have to say, for not saying anything.

It is what it is.

I can’t believe we are only two days away from Christmas. What I can believe, though, is that I’m hardly looking forward to it. Maybe I should change my name to Scrooge…

Okay, maybe that’s overstating the point a bit. I am excited, to spend time with our families and to share the gifts that we painstakingly picked out from suggestions and inspirations, which shall remain nameless of course (no peeking!).

I am simultaneously pleased, sad, and humbled at our choice of charitable contribution this year: helping a young college student who lost her mother just this Thanksgiving. I’m pleased because I know we are having a direct and positive impact; sad because I can only imagine how it would feel to go through Christmas without one of the most important people in my life; and humbled because this is the first year that we followed through with our plan to give something back. It certainly won’t be the last, however.

Tonight we’re going to the airport to pick up my cousin, whom I haven’t seen in…God, I don’t even know how many years it’s been. So much time has been lost, and even now I keep glancing at the clock and counting down hours and minutes until that trip. This reunion will truly be the greatest holiday gift for our family.

My wish for this holiday is that we find some time for silence. Between all of the driving hither and yon, splitting meals and present time and everything else that is going on, I just want a few quiet moments to sit back and reflect on what has come, gone, and changed forever in the last year of our lives. I want to stop all of the noise and listen to my inner voice, the one that remembers who I am outside of school and work and the constant “go-go-go”, and let her remind me where I’m going.

Most of all, I want it to be 60 degrees and sunny on Christmas.

The weekend dilemma

So of course, this Sunday is Father’s Day. It also happens to be the day of a midsize family picnic with my mom’s side of the family, since that was the only day that my cousin could reserve the park. While my parents are separated, over the last seven years they’ve built up a more friendly relationship which means that Dad is usually invited for the holidays and is often invited to gatherings such as the upcoming picnic.

Unfortunately, my dad has a massive ball and chain (more like a noose that tightens every day) — his mother, my other grandmother. When my grandfather died in 2002, my grandmother turned to my dad as the “only person” she had left in her life and became a constant drain on his time and energy. Yes, to be disregarded as a source of support and comfort to a family member who I loved very dearly at that time is insulting, but the worst part of it for me was that we had always had a shaky foundation in our home life, with our dad, and now what little time he otherwise had for us was being taken up in its entirety by a needy and bitter geriatric. On a Saturday afternoon it could be 2:00 pm and he would be sleeping — “Dad, can we do X activity or go Y place?” “Later, I’m sleeping.” But let her call and he would be up in minutes to go over there and do her bidding.

Perhaps I shouldn’t begrudge her his help to the extent that I have; after all, she lost a husband and a son within three years of one another, and in terms of her original nuclear family unit my dad really was the only one left. Still, the problems only got worse when my parents split in 2004 and he moved in with her full-time. Since then, her overall condition has deteriorated to a point that she is hardly recognizable as the grandmother with whom I grew up, aside from her propensity to tell the same stories over and over again.

The last year or so has been an ongoing saga with her. She is needy and whiny and belligerent, so convinced of her own rightness in situations where her memory has clearly failed her that she is willing to make liars of everyone around her just to emerge the victor. I keep my distance and try very hard to have no contact with her whatsoever…but of course, the only way for my dad to come to this family picnic is if he brings along his own penance.

Maybe it means I’m immature, and maybe some people will castigate me for being less than totally sympathetic to the sufferings of an old and senile woman, but speak to her for a minute and you’ll understand where I’m coming from when I say that it’s a tough call whether or not to even attend, even if it means that I don’t get to see my dad.

Oh well. At least my future in-laws will be there.