Thursday, April 17, 2014

To My Youngest

I want to thank you again for coming down to help sort some things last week. When I got home, Dad said that you'd packed quite a bit to take back to your mom's. This bothers me, not because I don't want you to have your things, but because of what it implies about your feelings about our household.

A month or two ago when you said that I was wasting my time inviting you down here each week and that you were happy with your life at your mom's, and that you didn't want a relationship with your dad, I heard, "You're wasting your time inviting me down, and I don't want to come down, and I don't want to interact with anyone at that house." I know this may be totally inaccurate and not a true reflection of what you want, but that's what I heard, and I've done my best to honor that request. There have even been times when I've tempered things your dad has wanted to do, reminding him that you're not keen on contact.

So I hope you didn't take my request for help as a desire to move you out. What your dad and I want isn't exactly compatible with what you want. Yes, we want you here, but not against your will... which is to not be here. Yes, it's complicated that way.

I don't know when or why you made that decision. Maybe I'll ask someday... and maybe you'll answer when you're ready. And really, there are a lot of things things that I hope to visit with you about some day.

Like how marriages should be.

Like the fact that when a man and woman marry, at least in our society, they do so because they like each other... which means that once upon a time, your parents liked each other... once.

Or the wisdom in spouses taking care of each other in all circumstances- pain or pleasure, inconvenience and ease, in illness and health... something I suspect neither of your parents were very good at, particularly toward the end of their marriage.

Or maybe we will talk about the need to talk- that people who are married need to communicate about everything, even the unpleasant things, and when they feel shut out, go ahead and wait a bit.. but don't let it just sit there and fester- find a way to talk about it... because spouses take care of each other and you can't take care of something you don't know about, or choose denial rather than the realities.

Your parents' marriage wasn't ideal, and I know that their divorce isn't either. It would be better if they talked about things.. but they don't. It would be better for you if they were able to communicate honestly- without assumptions, blame, or accusations. If they could talk with understanding, compassion, and a willingness to work together for your good. If they could talk with each other about ... well, everything, but most importantly about you- what they each want for you, what each feels is wise boundaries for you, and what each wants to and can offer that will enrich your life. Because really, each of your parents loves you dearly, and I suspect they would both, in their own unique ways, give everything they had if it meant you would be better for it.

Because you would be better for it if they worked together. But that's their choices to not do so, for reasons they alone understand. And sadly, you are the only one that is really going to pay the price. You're already losing out on time with your dad- and yes, I know that's by your choice, for your reasons.. but what all is going into that choice? What influences are pushing you one way or the other? Are you able to be objective? Are you able to separate yourself from the influences once in a while to get some perspective?

See, things aren't always as black-and-white as they seem. I know- I've been there. I know that both me and my ex-husband did things that messed up our marriage. And I can see where each of your parents could have done better, too.

I hope this wasn't too uncomfortable for you to read. I tried to be as gentle as possible, but still be fair and honest.

I want you to know that you are always welcome in our home, that you are a wanted part of our household- just a phone call to redeem that standing invitation. But I don't know if you know that, if that's how you feel. I hope that eventually your preference regarding our home will change. Until then, we will keep you in our prayers.

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