Sorry …

Sorry, I'm a bit of a flake.

“Can’t you just e-mail me with this stuff?”

Words coated in ice, slippery with sleet, sliding down my sensitive little back. They don’t roll off and shatter at my feet. They stick at the small of my back.

My ex-husband — father of my Girl from the West, a beautiful young woman now who reached legal age this week — chose these words in response to my phone call on our daughter’s birthday. This is what he had to say when I summoned the courage to call him to say, Hey! Our baby is all grown up. Imagine that?

I was being maudlin, thinking of that winter-storm level snow day in 1994, tethered to that hospital bed, hooked up to countless monitors and a pitocin drip, waiting for this unknown quantity to blast into our lives. And now, here she is, fully grown and ready to take on the world.

Of course, I know better than to just dial up without a good reason. He is not a chatterbox type. I called to discuss what to do about her medical insurance, college loan applications, and the like. I thought I’d lead in with the obvious, to rise above the politics of our divorce.

Sorry …

I retold the story to my mother a few days later, as a way to illustrate how people can be so disappointing and how we have to move on. She harbors her own disappointment with me, apparently, and grabbed my words mid-air and lobbed them back at me. She does not and never will support most of my choices. She’ll always think I could have done better. It’s useless to complain to her about a messy bed when I am the one who tangled the sheets. She is of the school that you take your licks or you rewrite the story in your head until you believe it.

Sorry …

And here is where I have a small epiphany. Maybe the one who was the physical abuser was the least of the matter. Emotional/verbal abuse slithers around me almost continuously and I am color blind to its stripes. I’m rewriting my story, too.

Sorry …

Last fall I had a long phone conversation with my brother, who lives thousands of miles away from all this. He was telling me why he decided not to come home for the holidays. He felt the message he was getting was one of disappointment. That his choices, his lifestyle, were unacceptable to my mother and that he was tired of justifying his life to her.

“I think, sometimes, that she’s upset because she can’t brag about us at the knitting circle,” I said. It was a bonding/healing moment for us.

I’m sorry — sometimes — that I returned from the estrangement arrangement.

I am sorry I didn’t accept your gift of baptism. I’m sorry you can’t understand my need to question the existence of a god or for doubting so-called sacred texts.

I am sorry you don’t notice I have a brain and that I use it to question everything.

I am sorry that no amount of perfection will ever be perfectly perfect enough for your level of perfectness.

I am sorry that I often model this behavior with the ones I love.

I am sorry that I don’t take more of my advice.

I am sorry that it takes me so long to recognize abuse.

I am sorry that I allow others to decide what makes me a good person.

I’m sorry I’m not warmer, more huggy and kissy, and loving and giving.  (I want so badly to be that person.)

I am sorry I am born of such cold people.

I am trying to thaw.

Sorry it’s taking so long.

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade
I am hooked on Edlenland’s weekly Fresh Horses Brigade. That woman challenges me every week. Cheaper than therapy, I tell you.

34 thoughts on “Sorry …

  1. I’ve stumbled across a number of these posts this evening and they are all so powerful, yours is no exception. I’m sorry that you didn’t grow up with a mother adoring you unconditionally. I’m glad you have a brother who you can be close to. x

    • Louisa, It seems so harsh sometimes when what you you think is put out there in words and then people respond. The most important thing is to remember to unconditionally love my children.

  2. Wow! Blown away by your strength. And your self-awareness. And your beautiful words too. And I love that sense of tenderness that is creeping through. “I’m sorry I’m not warmer, more huggy and kissy, and loving and giving. (I want so badly to be that person.)”… I can feel you thawing!

    • Kel: “Right reason” is often a screen for “my agenda.” I can disagree with a choice someone makes (within reason) but still be supportive of them as a person. It’s the all-or-nothing approach that is so manipulative.

  3. Its so sad when divorced parents can not come together in the joy of there children. I really feel your hurt at that. I have always encouraged my husband to consolidate and communicate with his ex-wife in the raising of there 2 beautiful daughters. They are 24 and 22 now and I believe so much the better for the communication. It was very hard at times but when you consider the need to be healthy and united to be good parents to children, it should outweigh all.

    You sound like a lovely mother, and thats beautiful.

    • Rex: Agreed. It’s sad. While it pains me to see young couples divorcing, I do see so much more effort at having a peaceful divorce for the sake of the children.

  4. Oh I love how you write, how you say what you say. I want to wrap all of your sorries up together, take them for a walk in the park. Get some fresh air.

    I’m born of cold people too … cold, distant, dysfunctional, abusive, unloving. I metaphorically punch myself in the head every day so I do not turn out like them.

    Thank you for linking up.

    • Edenland, Thank you! I am attempting to herd the stories and take them for a walk inside a book. The stories do need a bit of fresh air.

    • Meleah: I had hoped after all this time that things might mellow a bit with the ex, but not so much. I am not sorry for any of the choices I made, even though they did hurt me as well as some other people. I considered it the lesser of the evils. Thank you for your ongoing support.

  5. I love your writing tone, it’s full of feeling.
    “I am sorry that I don’t take more of my advice.”
    “I am sorry that I allow others to decide what makes me a good person.”
    “I am sorry that I often model this behavior with the ones I love.”
    The lines above are the ones that really speak to me, and the ones you can do something about. We answer to ourselves most.

  6. Keep questioning with your enquiring mind, it beats the hell out of blind acceptance. Even if you think it’s taking so long, look at how far you’ve already come. Some people never get there, from where you’ve been. Safe onward travel <3

  7. Your writing is so beautiful! You have no reason to be sorry! You can’t change anyone and you definitely can’t change how people perceive certain situations in your life. This is my first time visiting and I too have an ex and my daughter just turned 18 last month. She is figuring out college applications and making decisions on where to go. You would think fathers want to be informed and would take a minute to discuss these things with their mother. I got the same thing just week. I had been texting all morning asking him to call me because she was making a decision to go to a certain college, he said he was too busy and just email him. Same thing! I feel you!

    • Teresa: Thanks for sharing this with me. I’m not alone. I know I’m not, but it feels that way sometimes. He was the only other one there when she came into the world. Maybe I should call my OB/GYN and reminisce?

  8. The only thing to be sorry about is not standing up for your own worth in your own head. Everything else is not your fault. Since you can’t change those stressors, your choice to change your reactions to them is the best thing! Keep on keepin on.

  9. Very beautifully put and I have to slightly chuckle to myself because right now I am going through something similar. I am trying to make my husband see that we have to love our kids for who they are, not for who we wish they were. It is a struggle but honestly, I love their personalities and who they are. I don’t always agree with their choices but I need to let them make their own mistakes and wonderful experiences themselves.

    I found your blog through the blogger comment club. Thanks for letting me visit

    • Kerry: I am always thinking of this stuff regarding my girls. I think of the thing that bothers me the most and then ask: What if my daughter became that person? How would I handle it? Is there a line in the sand I won’t cross? How loving and accepting can I be? Thanks for visiting.

  10. I get that ‘disappointed’ feeling from my mom sometimes too. Usually comes when I refuse to accept the same things about church and family that she does. I finally decided to live my life the way I felt was right and she can be part of that… or not. It would be her choice. Keep believing in yourself and keep moving forward.

    (visiting from Blogger Comment Club)

  11. Very poignant and insightful post. On reflecting, it sounds like you are a bigger and better person than many of those that are judging you. I think you are doing the right thing by trying to be the bigger person. It’s so hard when people so important to your life do not approve or support things you think, feel or do. But they are all right for you!

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