There’s not much that I wouldn’t do for my children, except for apparently make phone calls.
I’ve talked about my tween daughter’s plea to make a phone call and “fix” our family, but there is also “Mommy, call Uncle ____ or Aunt _____” and I generally say no.
My eldest is more astute than most adults. She may look like me, but she thinks like her Uncle Drew and the Psych Major, and for that I’m grateful. But, like her mom, she has faith in people, far more than she should. During counselling, she tried using logic to get me to reach out and I was surprised, clearly she eavesdrops on conversations more than I thought.
“Imagine you have a lil girl and a job and school. That’s A LOT. Then suddenly, you have a lil girl, plus three extra girls and someone you love and it’s overwhelming & life gets messy. So you run away and all the adults do stupid things, but you love each other. But neither one of you wants to admit you did the wrong thing so you both just avoid each other, but you can be the one to make it stop, by just calling him and telling him you love him, you know you do and you know he loves you too, because you belong together.”
(This whole rant of hers reminds me of a quote from one of my favourite books:“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is exhausting for children to have to provide explanations over and over again.”)
I remind her that this is not the case and sometimes people just leave, and don’t come back, which brings the “You don’t know that! He’ll come back for us!” My 6yo tells me that she had a dream that he came back for us like he did before. He’ll show up on the doorstep and hug her and kiss me and her sister will have her friend & we’ll all be together and her dreams always come true. My 3yo recently asked Siri to find her little friend (which is both funny and sad). Then comes the question of when I’m going to invite someone over and I say “Not today.”
I love my girls. I love my friends. Sometimes I think I’m like my mother (sans the neglect and emotional abuse) on the level that I’m only capable of one great love and I can focus happily on my career and my children with the belief that they’re happy, because their happiness is the only thing that ever mattered to me when it related to them. But, I’m also the one who calls first, texts first, makes the plans, loans money, gives until there is nothing left and ends up getting my heart broken until I’m broken. My daughters need their mother to be strong and confident, and part of that requires me to preserve myself and that means I can’t keep reaching out to people, because then I end up getting hurt. I’m not perfect; I’m melodramatic, whiny, displace aggression, listen to the wrong people and sometimes I do and say dumb things. But I’m quick to apologize, even though I rarely get one when the role is reversed, but I still reach out, because I love those people. But perhaps I’ve learned that reaching out isn’t the way to go. Maybe I need to give people space and leave them alone until they want to repair things, for them, and my own self worth.
I ask my daughter how she is so sure that her magic phone call will bring back the person she loves and has faith in and she answered matter of factly; “People know what they want. Even if they think they screwed it up or it got messed up. But people know what they want, even if they won’t admit it.” I know what I want. I want to be happy with my children and my chosen career path in journalism
or law. I want to be an equal in my interpersonal relationships. I want people to be a part of my life because they want to be, because they love me and my girls and see me as the person I am; good, bad and ugly and even though I’m flawed and prone to melancholy and insecurity, I’m an amazing person and so are my girls. If you do, we’ll enjoy continuing wandering through the zaniness of life together. If not, then your part in my journey is over and I will always cherish that time and love you for when you were here. I know who and what I am and I’m okay with my good, bad & sometimes messy. I know I’m capable of loving a person for their good, bad and downright cruel. Maybe no one can love me the same, but that’s okay. I have my girls and the written word.
Which brings me to why I won’t make phone calls; people know what they want and they know who they want in their lives. My phone number hasn’t changed (even during the phantom caller ordeal, I did not change my number), I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I haven’t moved. I’m not that hard to find. I’m tired of being the one who constantly has to put herself out there, leaving me with this impression that people feel like they’re doing me a favour by letting me be near them. The stuff I mentioned work both ways and while I love my inner circle, I’m not going to continue to kiss people’s asses to be in my life. It only chips away @ my self-worth and sets a horrible example for my girls, that we are only important when we have something to offer or I’m helping pay your cable bill. I want to show my girls that we are just as valuable and important as anyone else. For the first time ever, I’m looking out for us by looking out for me. No longer will I be the doormat for the masses.
So, while my daughter’s happy ending seems unlikely, because while she swears on all that is Holy that the man that she looked up to and would never give up on would never truly leave us for good, for he loved us more than that, sometimes the people we have the most faith in are the ones who let us down. But, she is right; people know what they want. They know what they look for when no one else is watching. They know how they’re thinking when they lie awake at night. They know what memories of friendships make them smile. They know what risks someone has taken for them and they know sometimes what they want requires the big risk and it’s up to that person to decide if that person is worth it. I’ve made the big risk for a person (several times) and even when I was left crying and heartbroken, I’ve never regretted fighting for them, because they were worth fighting for. This is why I don’t make phone calls. If we’re worth it, my inner circle will make the effort. It’s either selfishness or self-preservation, but in order to be truly equal, I can’t always be the one who makes that first step.