My eldest daughter’s birthday is coming up on the 10th and she will be 12 years old. She very meticulously made her invitations for her birthday celebration, coloured them herself and planned to give them to her friends. Finally, she showed me one and said;
“This one is for Blank. He’ll come to my party and you two can get back together (I swear, I’m living in the Parent Trap).”
My heart caught in my throat and I told her, once again, that he wouldn’t be coming. He had left our lives, remember? She said “You keep saying that, but he said that you could have anything you asked for. So, ask for him to come back in time for my birthday! He already missed Christmas and all of the other birthdays, please don’t let him miss mine! All I want for my birthday is for him to come back to us and be with us again! I don’t even want presents; I just want him to be with us again! He still loves us, I know he does and all I want is for him to come back!”
I explained to her again that he is a good person who moved on with his life and she said “Uncle ___ said if you just wait a little while longer, he’ll be here. (Gotta love eavesdropping children.)” I explained again and that’s when she lost it. “You can give it to Uncle ____ who will give it to him and he will come to my party and you’ll get back together and everything will be great. H cries every night for her best friend and we miss him so much. Please, just try.” I told her no and was met with the tears and I hate you and the like.
When the relationship ended, my friends for months convinced me just to wait it out, he’d be back like he had come back before. Finally, right before Easter, they told me they had been humouring me, because they thought it would be easier. I understand that they meant well, but it stunted my healing, because I kept waiting for him. He was worth waiting for in my eyes. So, I waited for him to figure out what he wanted, sow his wild oats, or how to forgive me for all of the stupid things I do when I get insecure, which happened because I had never been in a normal relationship where no one yelled at me or called me ugly, or stupid, or worthless, and I didn’t want to screw it up. But instead I do everything wrong & over analyze & worry about nothing too much, fixate on minor issues because I think fixing something minor will help me fix major things, which makes me self-sabotage & ruin everything, even when I don’t mean to. I don’t know how to tell people that I feel skittish because I’m afraid of hurting their feelings or making them think I don’t trust them, because that’s what always happened before. So my friends said wait. Because I believe every word people say and if the people I trusted most said “wait it out and it’ll be alright,” I believed them. Meanwhile, the pressures of school, work and my own failures to cope with school, life and the seemingly never ending divorce proceedings didn’t allow me to see that my children weren’t simply forgetting. They were waiting too. My 3yo repeatedly asks for her best friend and my 6yo simply disregards what I say and makes plans for when Blank gets back. After all, he left before and he came back. This time it’s just taking longer. The mention that he won’t be back is met with a flip wave of her hand and “Yes he will. He loves us. He’s just taking longer to come back to us.”
My therapist asked me what I wanted for the girls, myself, etc. and I answered the only way I could; I wanted everyone to be happy. The reverend at our church reminded us about selfless love and selfless love means sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of others, even if their happiness breaks your heart into a thousand pieces. The only thing I ever wanted for him was to be happy, as happy as possible and I have had to accept that I must not have made him happy. Someday, maybe he’ll find someone who will make him happy and she’ll be beautiful and funny and everything I am not and he’ll be happy and I will live my life happily with my work and my girls knowing that he is happy. However, that also means that my children currently are not happy, as they want so badly to have that person in their life, the person who loved them and their mother and swore that he would never leave them. But eventually they’ll heal, and forget about him. Maybe they won’t, as my children are old enough to remember when people come and go, but eventually the pain will subside. I can’t make someone be here if they don’t want to be, nor would I want to. While I’m capable of being selfish, there are certain people in this world that I couldn’t be selfish with if, even if I wanted to be. Sadly, those people are currently conflicted, as the ones I love most want the one adult that I want most to be happy. So, I’m stuck, trying to do the best for the three people in this world who mean the most to me. I keep stressing to them that if people wanted to be here, they would contact us (as I mentioned recently), and I’m pretty easy to find. Hell, my email address is on this site! If someone isn’t here, then they don’t want to be here with me. My daughter says that people don’t always know how to say they’re sorry. You can’t just text or call and say “I’m an idiot.” Maybe she’s right, but I can’t hold onto pipe dreams and promises and the things that I used to believe in everyone. I can’t chase people, nor would I. But if it came down to him being happy or me, I would always pick his happiness over my own. In an ideal world, what would make everyone happy would be the same, but it rarely works that way in the end.
A similar thing happened on Valentine’s Day when my three year old daughter carefully constructed a valentine for the best friend she hadn’t seen in so long & her best friend’s dad. She asked me to give it to her. She’s only three, so I lied and said I did. Then I threw it in the garbage when she wasn’t looking. This time, I told my daughter I wouldn’t deliver her invitation to its intended recipient. “Why?” she fumed. “Because…” I answered. She looked sadly at the invitation she made with such love and care and went to bed. I heard her crying when I wandered into the kitchen. I went back into the living room and cried for her, she just didn’t know it.