smile and shrug

…what else can I do?

Archive for the category “Dedicated”

Be There

I am talking to my son on the phone.  “What can I do buddy?” I ask.  His voice is not the teen-man deep I’ve finally gotten accustomed to but the broken tearful child I long to hold on my lap and comfort.  “Just stay on the phone with me mom…” and of course I do.

What else can I do?  I am 70 miles away from him with an empty gas tank and not even the legal right to go to him and pick him up.  It’s 20* outside, almost 10pm, and he is alone on the jungle gym at a school playground a few blocks from the house where he lives with his dad.  He is broken, crying, angry, confused, and he has big big issues to deal with, big big decisions to make.  And I can’t offer anything but my voice on the phone.  God how my heart aches.

“You know my friend A?” he says.  I murmur softly and he continues.  “We have a theory that rough patches are just that, just patches and sometimes though it’s like God takes a great big dump on you and then hands you a miniature pooper scooper and it’s really hard.”  I laugh a little and then say, “remember that movie where the guy is buried up to his neck and a passerby puts a chopstick in his mouth and tells him to dig? it’s like that right?” He laughs and agrees.  It is, it is like that indeed.  And sometimes digging your way out takes a really long time.  I’ve been digging for 3 years now and I don’t feel any closer to freedom now than I did to begin with.  But I have this: a son who calls me and the ability to offer him love from a cell phone on a cold dark night.  You can’t really bury love.

I need to share that old 12-step poem with him next time I see him, remind him that he has the choice to change things, to accept things, and that he is indeed smart enough to know when to change it or when to accept it.  He is a good kid, will be a good man.  He made a few mistakes, but they aren’t mistakes that every teenager hasn’t already made.  They aren’t terrible horrible character defining mistakes, they are normal stupid teenager mistakes and he is still good, wonderful, and loved.  I tell him this, over and over, “you are good, you are wonderful, you are loved!  It was a mistake, but a normal everyday one, you are fine, you are good, you are wonderful, I love you…”  I thank him for telling me the truth, and I beg him to always tell me the truth because I couldn’t bear it if I had to doubt him.  There may still be parts he isn’t telling me, but given the detail he DID tell me, I’m pretty sure he told me all there was.  He is brave, my son, my brave good wonderful loveable son.  I’m so glad I was there to get that phone call from him.

I wanted to go, get in my car and drive, to go and pick him up, make him hot tea and wrap a blanket around his thin shoulders, to tuck him in like a little boy, to hold as much of his 6ft tall body as my little self can and rock him back and forth.  I couldn’t do any of that, but yet I was there anyway, in the way I could be, which was better than not being there at all.

Please God, isn’t it time for me to be there yet?



Will You Ever Know?

…that I cry for you.

i wonder if you know that i think of you a bajillion times a day, wonder how you are physically and emotionally, what you are wearing and if you are warm enough or clean enough, how you are feeling about yourself or your life, what you are doing when you aren’t at home or at school – when you are out there on your own and alone, and full of raw angst over not knowing all of those things innately.

…that I ache for you.

i wonder if you have ever felt the need to be with me, the longing to be held and touched and mothered the way i so desperately need to be with you, hold you, touch you, and mother you like i did before all of this, if you cry for me and i agonize over the image of you needing me.

…that I die a little more without you.

i am not who i used to be, when i was there – and it gets harder and harder with each passing event, to find within me that same spirit, that i am more and more dead to myself, dead to the past, the same way that i see you slipping away as time goes by.

…that I did, indeed, really, do everything I could, within my power, and with my own sense of morals, to avoid this very thing.

i wonder if you think that i didn’t try hard enough, didn’t just produce from thin air the money or time or magical ‘thing’ that would have fixed it all, wonder if you’ve slid into that camp of “against” instead of firmly rooted in “for”.

…that I didn’t do what you might, at a more grown up time, think I should have done, that I didn’t do what he thought I should have done, but that I did what was right to do.

i wonder if you carry the thought that i should have done, should be doing, chose wrong – and in your limited perspective it is the only truth you know or if you carry the conceptual thought that i am doing all that i can and should and holding up my own preservation for the long term benefit and silently rooting me on from the sidelines.

…the sheer strength and courage I possess is admirable and inspiring – that the giving up of something because it preserves it is better than trying to hold too tight and causing the destruction of it – and that is true love.

i wonder if you’ll see the strength for what it is, see the stubborn grasp on courage that i refuse to release, if you’ll be inspired in your life for watching this quiet tenacity at work in me, if you’ll thank me for not causing more damage or if you’ll hate me for not blindly desperately flailing to grasp the very thing i want at all costs just to show that i DO want it.

…that I love you so much…so much…so much…

…or if you’ll think i loved myself more, loved someone else more, or if you’ll feel abandoned when i meant for you to feel safe.


The Difference

You asked me if I was different “back then” and I pretended not to understand what you were asking.  You said, “back then, when you were with him…” and you meant back when I was married, when I was his wife, when I was part of him.

Your insecurities are so much more transparent than you know.

After sputtering around the issue with you a little I said, “of course I was! You are a different person so I am different with you – the same way that you were different with her than you are with me…it’s just natural!” and you were satisfied, it made sense, it soothed you.

But there is more to it than that and the bold and blunt answer is yes.  Yes, I was different back then.

I was kind back then.  Not “kind-er” or more kind, but just plain kind.  I’m not kind these days.  I was kind and gentle, patient, and loving.  You say I am un-affectionate, distant, not warm; but I used to be all of those good things.  Back then.  People wanted to be me, to have my life, my relationship with him, my joy and my sweetness.  I used to be happy, confident, peaceful, spontaneous, generous.  I used to be loveable.  Now? Now you tell me you love me, but really you just love my body.  There is nothing loveable about me and I know it.

I used to be compassionate, a good listener, empathetic.  I looked hard at MY actions and took responsibility for them.  I sent birthday cards to friends, called my dad, wrote to my aunt.  I fostered babies, taught new mommas to care for their new babies, gave my time to my church with Drama, nursery, cleaning crew, hosting and leading a small group.  At my house I planted flowers, took pictures of them, gave rides to people, baked for neighbors/teachers/mailman/and the trashman.  I wrote out Christmas cards and Roshashana cards, sat thru Seder meals with his family and hosted Thanskgiving meals for 10 or more people each year.  I was good.  I was honorable.  I was respectable.  I was kind and giving and smart and interesting and I cared – all the time.  But that was back then.  When he was different and life was different.  This is now.

I used to be deeply spiritual.  My belief in God isn’t different now, not in my core belief about salvation, about who I believe Jesus to be, about what I believe will happen to my soul when I die, but I no longer trust, love, or turn to God.  I no longer seek him, daily, just for the joy of praising him or loving him or thanking him.  There is no peace or joy or safety in God for me.  I find no strength in him.  That makes me very different.

I am bitter and angry with God.  I am fierce in my rage at Him.  When my voice is scratchy and hoarse sometimes, when you ask if I am sick or have a sore throat, it is because I have been shrieking curses at God, at the top of my lungs from the bottom of my soul and have worn my voice out.  Back then, I never even raised my voice to anyone.  I say the most foul thing I can thing of to say to God.  I may go to hell for it, but this life feels like the worst hell anyway so I scream at God and say, “F*ck You God!”  Back then I never never never said that word.

I have tried so hard to NOT be a bitter disillusioned bitch.  I made it my goal to NOT be a divorce with a chip on my shoulder.  I was going to be forgiving, accepting, brave, peaceful and grounded, strong, even and fair, stable.  I wanted to keep being ME.  Guess that didn’t quite work out.

I am a bitter disillusioned bitch.  I’m divorced with a HUGE chip on my shoulder.  I’m exhausted and angry and always wanting.  I’m not forgiving, I am resentful.  I am weak, selfish, and self absorbed.  I’m jealous and hateful and spiteful.  I wear the thinnest facade when the kids are around but I think they see thru it anyway.  I’m scared all the time.

I am different than I was “back then”.  I’m sorry that you didn’t know me then, that you have only this ‘me’ to try and love.  I’m not stupidly shouldering all the crap though – I know I got the leftover damaged parts of YOU as much as you got this damaged version of me so the balance is relatively equal but at least I am owning up to the fact that I am miserable and hard to love, hard to like, and soooo hard to live with.  I know it.

I haven’t given up on finding my way to a better me,  a me that will never be who I was but will surely be a version of that good, kind, tender soul.  However, I see the journey there as full of chin-deep shit holes, impossible cliffs, starvation and scurvy, and moments of terror and bleakness too vast to describe.  So, I release you.  I release you at any time from any obligation to stay.

In the middle of the night I turn into the warmth of you and am grateful.  I see you with the kids and feel a wave of tenderness, love, desire – but those two small things barely dent the armour of my bitterness that you see face to face all the other long lonely moments.

I hope you’ll stay,  but if you leave, I could never blame you.

If I ever ask you to leave, demand that you leave, I hope you’ll try to remember that this awful person I am isn’t who I always was and that you’ll find grace and forgiveness for me.  I have loved you, I DO love you – but I so very much hate myself that there is little room for that love to be present.



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