Saturday, May 18, 2013

An open letter to my alienated oldest step-daughter

Dear Oldest Child,

I have started this letter several times and in several ways, but the likelihood of you ever reading it is slim, so I guess it doesn't really matter. You are 18 now, graduating (or graduated). Welcome to life after childhood. I know you won't understand what that means yet. You still need time to work out the hormones and figure out what life really is before you can see reality for what it is.

My days of trying to be the super-step-mom are long over, so I won't issue sweet platitudes o r give rose-colored advice on your future. It wouldn't matter to you anyhow. We aren't a part of your life; we won't be invited to your graduation. It's not as much of a stepping stone anymore. It's just another mile marker in the long road where you and your siblings move further and further away from your father.

Your father still waits for you to call because he believed you at Grand-dad's funeral. He believed that you were sorry; he believed that once you were grown and free, you would call. He doesn't want to bring pain on you from your mother, so he didn't even send you a Facebook message regarding your birthday because you told him she would “freak”. And, since I have relinquished my step-mom crown, I am working hard on letting it go. I am not responsible for his relationship with you or your relationship with him.

Letting it go is difficult, though. especially when I look back over the years. 10 years, your father and I have been together. I still remember you as the little girl who cried at the wedding because you were afraid you weren't going to get to come. Your mom had told you she wasn't letting it happen, and so your father and I sneakily moved the wedding forward. We paid for it afterwards. We didn't see any of you for three months.

I remember many things, stories that we kept from you because we wanted to believe that doing the right thing meant that we would achieve the goal of having a happy, blended family in the long run. So, we didn't involve you in the battle, we followed advice that said to answer the questions briefly, but remind kids that they should be kids and not worry about it. Boy, were we wrong. Funny how you can play by the rules, but still lose. That's a lesson in being a grown-up. Good luck with that one.

I remember the last day, when you left our house for good. You hated us, you said. You hated Little Guy. He wasn't your brother... Never mind that your mom's child, born of a different relationship, apparently was, and is. It was then that I realized, listening to the words coming from your mouth, that I could never trust you with your father's and my child.

We were mean. How? You didn't know. You just knew we were. We were abusive. How? You didn't know. We just were.

You stared at me sullenly when I finally confronted you about some of the lies your mom had spewed, and confirmed that you had fed them to her. I doubt you ever cleared up that misconception, and it doesn't matter anyhow, I suppose. Your mom has and always will hate your dad. You and your siblings will always be sucked into it.

So, I suppose in a way, I am glad for you. This is your chance to escape. I hope you take it. This is your chance to make amends and build bridges with your father. I hope you do that too. He loves you, more than you will ever know. He is a good man who believes the best in people. It was how he lasted so long with your mom. He believes in you, too. And he desperately misses you and your siblings.

As for me, as I said, I am done being super-step-mom. I'm not playing by those rules any more. I won't pull punches and I will never sugar coat things about your mom ever again. So, while I encourage you to build bridges with your father, I encourage you even more to do it without me. I am not who I once was, and I will not pretend things are as they once were. That land has been burned and salted.

But mostly, get away from your mom. I know you love her, and I believe in her own sick, twisted way, she loves you the best a bi-polar narcissist can. Your own sanity may depend on you loving her from afar.



Monday, April 15, 2013

I weep for my son

I know it has been a while since my last entry.   Today’s events prompted me to sit down and get these thoughts out of my head. 

Today started with my thoughts on other parents in our hometown, where a threat had been issued to shoot twenty children in five schools between two counties.  No names or places had been specified, it was a general, vague threat, but it was there.  I was thankful that I was able to get a job that enables me to homeschool my son.  I wasn’t faced with the choice of putting him potentially in harm’s way or potentially losing the job that allows me to feed him. 

There was no question in my mind that he was safe, at home with me, re-enacting various battles from World War II.  I hugged him repeatedly, finally eliciting an “Ugh, mommy.  That’s too much hugging.”  I am OK with that, since he is alive to tell me it was too much. 

As I got ready to leave for work, though, reports of the Boston Marathon bombing started hitting the newswaves.   I want to not talk about it in front of my son, I want to avoid this topic because now, he is getting old enough to understand that this stuff is bad, that our world is not safe.  And I want to cry.    

The last mile of the race was dedicated to the Newtown victims.  Someone deliberately destroyed something that was there to comfort the families of that tragedy.  If they find out who did it, my bet is on a gun nut because of the national discussion of gun control, and I feel shame.  Someone took a marathon and a memorial and used it as an attempt to politicize it, additionally causing more pain and hurt. 

How is this our world?  How can I look at my son and tell him that good will prevail?  I will continue to teach him about peace and love, forgiveness and hope.  I believe in them, even in our darkest hours.  But right now, it’s pretty damn dark, and hope seems so very far away. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I've decided

I don't want to get over her.  I just want her back. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Death of a Pet

When someone you love dies, be it a pet or a human, you grieve. 

Today we lost my beloved cat, Caitlin.  I had raised her from kittenhood and took her through 12 years of her life.  Last year, around this time, she stopped eating.  I poured food and  milk down her throat and bullied her back into fighting shape.  For a year, she was back to herself.  She bullied Tiger, she bullied our dog, she hogged all the food.  Not bad for a cat who barely weighed five pounds at her top weight.  Then, last week, I got worried.  She wasn't eating much anymore. 

This time, there was no saving her.  I tried.  Since Thursday, I made her drink, I made her eat, but at the end, she was barely moving, stiff, and cold.  Last night, when I held her, she tried to purr at me, and I knew for certain that this was it.  She was leaving. 

I've done this before.  I am a veteran pet owner.  The downside of the loving is the losing.  I try to explain that to Little Guy, who struggles right now with the concept of death and "gone forever."  This is his first real experience with it, and he's reacting the way a six year old does.  This is painful, this is sad, and that means this is something to be avoided.  If you ask him if he's sad, he'll tell you no.  If you ask him why he cries, he'll tell you he's not even as the tears are falling down his face.

He wants to get a new cat, something I think to distract from the pain.  We told him that wasn't going to happen for a while.  We needed to grieve for Caitlin.  A new cat could not replace Caitlin; it would simply be a new cat.    I'm going the whole "It's OK to miss her.  It's OK to be sad.  That shows that you loved her." 

I lie to him too.  I tell him that everything is OK.  I think that's a lie all parents tell their kids when it comes to death and dying.  Because, let's face it.  It's not OK.  It won't be OK for a while.  Someone we loved died.  It hurts.  It is, however, a fact of life.  It will take time for things to get back to normal.  I just opened a can of cat food for our Tiger cat and started bawling.