I remember when I was young and I wanted something badly and couldn’t get it, I was told “you’re old enough not to let your wants hurt you”. I don’t remember who said it, or when, but I know that it stuck with me because I always wondered how old is old enough? How old do you have to be to not feel the heartbreak and ache of not getting something that you wanted.
I am writing to keep from screaming, yelling, crying and smashing things – although I may have some old dishes I’ll never use in the basement, and I heard that smashing them would be very therapeutic! My dearly departed husband (my way of saying we’re separated) pulled a no-show for two consecutive days. Our agreement is for him to spend time with the kids for two hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. My intuition told me not to have them dressed and waiting at the door on Thursday, like I usually do, and I’m so glad I listened because they would have been more heartbroken. I kept them busy and preoccupied while I tried to reach him by text, by phone and email, all to no avail. I finally called his brother and he miraculously was able to get in touch with him and I got a lame response via text within ten minutes. No phone call to apologize to them, and only an excuse when he surfaced a few days later that he was out with some friends. Lovely! So being the quick thinker that I am (and trying to keep my cool at the same time), I pulled out a DVD that I was saving for Kwanzaa, declared it movie night and we all got in our pajamas, laid out the blankets and pillows on the floor, poured the popcorn and enjoyed an impromptu movie nigh. They didn’t know that I was secretly planning his demise in my head and thanking my Creator at the same time for affirming my decision to separate.
I don’t know what it is inside of me that keeps me from slicing his tires or taking a baseball bat upside his head after he pulls this crap. Although it runs through my dreams like a romatic escape to a far away island, I could never actually follow through with it. I guess partly because I never saw my mother show her anger in such a way and because deep inside I value my serenity and refuse to give anyone that much power over my feelings. I would rather write about how trifling he is and how angry it makes me and why. So if you want to hear it, here it goes….
I hate that our children suffer because he is unreliable. I hate that his selfish behavior transports me back to an age of eight or nine when I felt so powerless over my emotions. I didn’t know how to be angry. My mother smoked when she was stressed and my dad drank. Surprisingly, I didn’t pick up either habit but instead wrote in my journal. That was one healthy habit that was passed down to me from my mom. She always kept a diary and I have always kept one for as long as I can remember. Writing has always helped me to release, reveal and recover. And for that I am grateful.
So now when I see the feelings of disappointment and confusion welling up in my son, I offer him a safe place to pour it out. I not only gave him a journal (he prefers the Diary of a Wimpy Kid version), but I purposely allow him to see me writing in mine, and keeping the contents safe and private. I wish that he would tell me everything that is on his mind – the good and the bad – but I know that even with our close relationship that it’s not something that an eight year old boy will do. It makes me sad that the doesn’t have that type of close, trusting relationship with the major male figure in his life either. All that I can do is explain to my son about his father’s behaviours and how the choices that he makes do not reflect the love he has for my son, but more accurately, the lack of love for his own self.
I know it’s not easy for an eight year old to understand, but I hope and pray that on some level he gets it and at some time in the future he will understand the words I’m saying to him now. It’s time to break the cycle. I grew up thinking that my father’s emotional abandonment was my fault. My mother tried to compensate for what was lacking. However she never sat down to explain to me that the inconsistent and inconsiderate actions of others, not matter how much I loved them,were not my fault and not under my control. It took years of self-help books and support groups to grasp that seemingly simple notion.
I needed to let my son know and I needed to let the little girl in me know too. And it’s comforting. Just like writing about it comforts the soul and allows me to move past it. I pray my children find their own healthy outlets that provide them that same solace and release. Thank you God for hearing my prayer.