Tonight I go with Fred to see Susan Tedeschi! Yaay! He has no real interest in her, he’s doing it for me the same way I went to see his Jam bands. Sometimes we get very pleasantly surprised so it’s not a total sacrifice and hey, there’s always beer at these things if it’s really bad. But Susan isn’t bad at all and I think he’ll LOVE her!
Anyways I have something to say that might take a little splainin’. I’ve had an epiphany and I like to share those :)
I’ll keep it as short as I can considering I’m typing one handed. (Finger is doing well but the wrappings are getting gross. I can’t wait to see the doctor Monday)
Okee, let’s start:
Most of you have been with me since 2002 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer (if you weren’t I’m fine and so are the girls. I had a lumpectomy) Right on the heels of recovery it turns out that my Ex was cheating on me and left me, just about 4 years ago this month. All this is in a locked diary that I abandoned when I realized it was irrelevant to my new life with Fred and causing problems with my Ex’s new GF because she was finding out what a freakin’ LIAR he is. I didn’t need the problems and so I locked up and left for here.
But for those of you that have read those years you remember what a basket case I was and I was still very much in love with my ex despite everything. I was waiting for him to have a change of heart and come back to me.
Meanwhile what was left of my sane mind knew I better not hold my breath too long for that reunion. I dieted and grew out my chemo non-hair and got on a dating sight and started seeing people. I was trying to create a new life out of whole cloth. You see I had almost nothing and no one left.
My last child left 6 months after her Dad. I had no husband, no children small enough to care for or anyone to care for me, as a companion. I felt absolutely devastated, deserted, abandoned and alone. Unloveable, the creepy person you run from. I was a Muggle in a Harry Potter world. I spent my whole life serving and revolving around people that would leave me. I had grown old and left youth behind. I couldn’t start a new family for a new man and why would any man want me when a well off older man could spoil some young thing rotten and have her instead? My identity as Mother and Wife was shattered. I had to start ALL OVER. I was 50 years old and had never been alone since 9th grade and even then I had Mom and Dad. In between marriages I had my oldest daughter to care for.
I can’t impress how betrayed and afraid I was. I was a mess and I glommed onto the only life line I had at the time, my oldest daughter and her kids. She couldn’t stand seeing me the way I was, a teary mess. She’s a big one for picking yourself up by the bootstraps and giving the big finger to the offender and moving on. That’s not me at all. I loop myself symbiotically in and out of the other person’s life and persona so that having them leave is like pulling my own arms and legs off. Big chunks of me go with them.
Anyways, she invites me to go camping with her and her family and her in-laws which includes her sis-in-law and her family. Altogether it’s 7 adults and 5 children. I grabbed that life-line hard and it gradually dragged me into the light. I started dating. I went out and I established the Ex’s and my friends as just my friend’s after he left town so I had people again.
My oldest daughter had often asked me to hang out with the G family years and years before but I had my oldest when I was 19 yrs old. They were 10 yrs older than me. Besides even though I would have enjoyed it the Ex was wobbling between being a drunk and being a crackhead and that’s kind of hard to hide. I was no angel either through some of those early years and so I figured she was better off without displaying her party parents. We stayed with our own age group and interests.
What happened next I totally understand. My oldest bonded with her husband’s family, enough that they became preferred, not more loved, I know she loves me, but they weren’t crazy and unstable with crazy friends. I did the same thing with both sets of my in laws for approval. I still had my family, I always would, but I could ADD to my family and I did. Just like my daughter did. She had a whole LIFE with them that I didn’t really realize the scope of. Keep that in mind. I didn’t become really involved with my daughter’s kids until the Ex left me in 2003. I babysat every Friday night but I didn’t DO things with her or them. I did things with my Ex, who I loved beyond reason, who didn’t do things that you could do with children. I had to keep those aspects separate from my children. Even now I have people come up to me and mumble things along the line of “If those kids didn’t have you they never would have grown up to be as stable as they are” but that’s another story.
Fast forward through the next 4 years as I went on the camping trips with the G family (my daughter’s in laws) thinking I was being accepted as part of them. Hell, I might not have vacationed with them before but I was making up for lost time, wasn’t I? The Ex had really held me back, I thought. I was gaining a whole new bigger family to belong to through my daughter and her children. Right? She didn’t just marry into the G family, they married into ours too. Right? And that fact wasn’t anything to be ashamed of anymore. Fred and I took the boy to Steam Town. We shared a love of our bigger family and I wasn’t a black sheep anymore. I belonged. The Ex was gone and I was healed emotionally. I was part of a new couple with Fred and half of it wasn’t crazy anymore. I was proud of how far I’d come and felt accepted by the people I had just spent 4 years of camping with, among other family things like christenings and birthday parties and Christmas at Disney and all kinds of healthy family things.
So, it was a shock when my daughter made plans to go to Laconia camping this August with the G family but instead of inviting me to get a camp site of my own the same week she said, "Mom, maybe we should come up with our own thing to do. I do this with the G family and it puts me in a spot when they forget to include you or there aren’t enough seats on the boat to invite you. It stresses me out and I just want to relax on my vacation and not worry about you and them."
In a panicked, confused state, so many things went through my mind. Why now after 4 years? Had I been unwelcome all this time? I get my own site, am I so intrusive that she’s banning me from going when she goes? But it’s no fun camping alone. I loved being with all the people.
But what I said was, “I know there was no room on the boat for me last year but I took a train ride instead. I won’t be a problem. It’s no fun to go alone and I love the place.”
She went on to explain that this is what she does with THEM and maybe we could have our own traditions. I started to cry. They just rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t stop them but I turned my head so she wouldn’t see.
“Mom? Are you crying?”
“No of course not. Something in my eye. Just watering. Almost gone.”
“Oh Mom! I don’t mean to hurt you. It’s just pressure when I don’t want it. I want to relax on my vacation. Mom .. please don’t cry.”
“Then stop bringing it up and let it rest. I won’t go” and in my hurt I said, “I understand now. I’m not a member of the G family and can never be accepted as even a friend although they married my daughter and a quarter of my blood runs in their grandchildren’s blood and I’ve known all of them for over 20 years. Fine, if I’m such a burden then I won’t go.”
And I got in my car and drove off for a good cry not letting her see me. I said my piece and although cutting I didn’t think I’d done permanent damage to our relationship, just was understandably hurt. I felt betrayed again. I thought everything was hunky dory but they didn’t really want me. Fine, wait FOUR YEARS, then tell me. But I didn’t want to spew hurt all over her and wreck our relationship forever. I love her and those kids and to give her credit she was trying to be honest and offering me an alternative olive branch.
*Man this is hard to write about* *sniff*
(Hey, how do you make a hanky dance? .. You put a little boogie in it)
Ok, to continue, my oldest daughter called me later that night and invited me to stay in her trailer with her and her family for a day while they camped out. I dearly wanted to tell her no and shove it back in her face but I accepted so she wouldn’t feel so bad about what had just happened between us. I figured one night and a thank you and then get out of there and everything would be fixed between us.
So I went last Monday. I drove TWO & ½ HOURS and 130 MILES and was just 12 miles away when she called and said, “They want to go on the boat and no one wants to wait. Can you meet us for lunch in Wolfboro?”
I thought of screaming FUCK YOU and turning around but every time I’m impulsive I regret it. Instead I said to my daughter, “Don’t repeat this or answer to it but if it was your husband’s mother they’d sure as hell feel like waiting.”
“Ok Mom see you in Wolboro”, She answered after a second.
So I drove another 30 miles (60 roundtrip) past the camp site to meet them in Wolfboro and have lunch where I offered 30 dollars for a 15 dollar lunch and no one even looked at what I gave and they gave change to my son in law. I was trying to kick in towards the kids expense but no one noticed. So I drove back to the campground and had a normal night. Drank beer gossiped over a fire and went to bed.
The next day I asked if I could have permission for one more night so I wouldn’t have to drive back in the dark after the pontoon boat ride. She asked her husband, he said, “Of course” and we went for a pontoon boat ride to Center Harbor where I found this fantastic craft store, we went to a beach side restaurant for lunch (Where I again paid double my meal with tip and no one noticed and they gave change to my son in law) and later we towed the kids through boat wakes on a rubber raft attached by a tow line. The senior Mrs G (oldest daughter’s mom in law) complains that the other boats have the whole lake why do they have to get so close and points to one about a quarter mile away. I chime in and reply to her, “Oh that’s not so close, not like the one that looked like it was aiming for us.” And then I turn to my Son in Law and say, “I guess I’m getting too used to Plymouth Harbor if that looks far away.”
We laugh and eventually come in off the water and go back to camp. While my daughter and I are changing clothes in her trailer she says to me, “You shouldn’t have talked back to Mrs G.” I said, “Talking back? I just disagreed about something minor. She would take offense at that?” and my daughter said, “She’s full of opinions we just ignore her but when you engage her everyone rolls their eyes. We know her, you don’t”
I said, “Well I guess that’s right. Sorry. But shouldn’t we be ourselves and get to know each other? We have known each other over 20 years even if we weren’t up each others arse.” And she replied that she doesn’t want to rock the boat and get put in the middle.
And I thought, “Honey, I love you but you have absolutely no chance of getting caught in the middle. You’ve already made your choice.”
And with that thought I slept, hit the antique store in the morning and came home. It wasn’t until I was home a whole day that it finally sank in. I guess I was just too surprised and hurt to see it sooner.
*This is the epiphany part, don’t miss it, it’s short.*
I am NOT my daughter’s best friend, damn close but not quite. I’m her MOTHER and always will be. Why can’t she have her vacation with the G family without being torn by their disregard of me? And why should the G family regard me as anything other than a fluke? I spent 20 years soft shoeing through family occasions and then slipping away from them to be with my *real* friends. You reap what you sow. The thing is I always thought there’d be time and opportunity to fix things. I don’t like it but I did it to myself and now that I’m not a broken mess anymore I guess its time to walk on my own two feet.
She’s still my daughter. She still loves me but she’s spent time since the 9th grade camping and snowmobiling and going to fairs and just being at their house with the G family. Her best friend married her husband’s brother. Between them there are FIVE children. There’s only so much time available and she spends 99% of it with the G family. She’s one of them, more of them, by necessity. It would have been nice if they semi-adopted me but I guess that will take time, if ever. I hope I have enough of it left.