Friday, November 7, 2008

North or South

It was rainy and dank - the day had been long hobbling about to attend to simple needs. The teapot looked so far away. Navigating balance, a cup of steaming tea, the cane and my dignity are a bit too much all at once. The South West Indian table and chair was my destination. A short journey I never even thought about it but here I was so aware of every odd step and all the spills of tea now on the floor and me. I made it.

I was waiting for her to arrive. I was excited for the company, for the comfort of not being alone. I lit a candle setting a mood of warmth and welcome suitable for two queens sharing a simple meal and kind conversation of interest and humor. Oh yes, this will be wonderful. I slowly sipped my tea while straightening our place mats, soon to be covered with plates, amethyst in color, forks and knives, pretty glasses and flowered napkins. I removed papers and magazines I leafed through earlier to gain insight for Christmas, placing them under the table on the bench that lines the back of the table. The benches are upholstered in a fabric of mosaic design, subtle, with jade, beige, Burgundy and teal. The high back chairs are covered in the same earthy Indian fabric design. The harvest table has served many and this evenings meal is special, just me and her.

I was ready and waiting. I started to feel that nervous feeling as time marched on and I did not hear from her. Huh. She must be running late, I thought, she said she would be here to help with dinner and spend time. Huh. "Should I call?" "No, I will give it a little more time." I finished my tea.........and called.

"Where are you?" - I asked. "On my way to the mall", she replied. I felt sick, "The mall?" I questioned. She said she thought she would be back "in time". I challenged, "in time for what, it is late and I was waiting for you to have dinner." She fumbled over her excuses claiming she did not recall our plans including dinner and that she hoped to stop by after she finished at the mall. I was stunned by her thoughts. Clearly, we had plans for dinner and not only to spend time but because as I regain my strength I need the help. Again, I was stunned. Her reasons and excuses were endless and none made any sense. I wanted them to because I did not want to believe that she simply "blew me off!" That is exactly what she did, she blew me off to spend time with 'him'. That came out later as I pushed on with the what and why and she eventually said she was going to the mall with him.

At some point she claimed she did not do this "on purpose". I pretty much lost any ability to be calm at that point. I said, "when you got in your car with him at 5:00 and headed South towards the mall rather than North to my house as was planned - that is absolutely "on purpose"" Amazingly, she still argued it was not. I thought I was losing my mind. (As a side note, he is one of many attempts at a relationship - he lives with his Mother, (he's 30), has his own construction business and he is the only worker and interestingly, his "business" allows him to be free most afternoons to be with her, and his truck is often broken down.). Perhaps this is better than the one just before who was wearing an ankle bracelet locked on by the Department of Corrections as an extra measure of security while on parole - p.s. two weeks ago he violated his Parole and is back in prison and now this new one is "on the scene". It is mind boggling if not very frightening, disappointing and yesterday, very hurtful.

I have to share what she claimed was the violation of parole. She said, "that while they were at a "Haunted House" for Halloween his ankle bracelet could not be monitored and so they put out a warrant for him claiming he was out of his allowed distance from home. Good one, huh?

I haven't met the new guy. I pretty much am sure I don't care to. I asked her how she thought that a man with no job security, no reliable vehicle and resides with his Mother could enhance her life? She spoke of him being kind and fun and nice and that she wasn't looking for anything 'serious'. If the 'nothing serious' part is true than why would she choose not to come and be with me as we planned? I felt like a fool actually, believing she would be there as excited as I was to be together. Talk about humbling!

If I look beyond my hurt I am overtaken by unyielding fears. Her choices in life's partners have proven to be violent and abusive. It is only six months ago that her 'man' robbed her apartment and threatened her with a knife, witnessed by her six year old son. The legal outcomes were endless and her son now lives with her sister some 500 miles away so he is out of harms way. Little has changed to make it safe for his return which is a heart-breaking beyond words. I have talked until I am blue about how this is affecting him, but to no avail. It is a sensitive line to walk - on the one hand I am so amazed at her sister for taking on this responsibility of caring for her nephew and on the other hand I am sick over her allowing this to go on. So choices such as yesterday remind me of all her other dangerous decisions which over shadow any hurt I may feel. I have tried to not ask any questions, and let it all be and I have tried the extreme opposite - nothing makes a difference. I think this is what powerless really means, huh?

I managed to fumble around the kitchen and slice some chicken off one of those ready cooked one's Skipp bought at the grocery store. It served the purpose, to sustain. I can't remember a sadder or more frightening meal while alone recalling her life and her son's life, as well. I am struggling with a decision I need to make. This will sound just awful, I know, but it is how I feel today. She was planning to meet her sister halfway between upstate NY and here so she can bring back her son and his two cousins to have Thanksgiving here. Today, I want to tell her to have Thanksgiving in upstate NY - just keep on driving and cook for herself and her son and his cousins. I don't know if I can pretend as much as will be required. I make no apologies for how I feel only regrets that I even have such situations to wrestle with and carry. Also, I write "Why I Am Thankful For You" letters to everyone who sits at our Thanksgiving table. Whatever would I write? This tradition is HUGE in our family and has been for over a decade. Today it feels as if it has been desecrated.

Or perhaps the love and kindness of the day can promote healing and give hope and example of family and time honored traditions that provides comfort and something to hang on to when all else is bleak. My dilemma is that she does not know it is bleak, I know...........but if she is unaware how can she benefit from the many gifts of the day? I am not one who gives up easily and that is evident if you have read any of my blogs. I also love hard and care deeply - also evident in my writings. I am frozen. Paralyzed with fear and desire to dismiss. Maybe dismiss is not the right word - 'let go', yes - 'let go'. I have been the beacon of light and hope and wisdom and all for naught. I have provided a roof over her and her son's head, rescued her from a dangerous situation in Florida, rescued her from yet another dangerous situation in New Haven, paid to get her car back from the 're-po' guy, kept her lights on, her gas on, and paid back balances on Day Care bills, provided other financial support and emotional support following many wrong decisions she made. And here we are again, the same cycle of self destruction and lack of regard outside the need to be with a man. The void is not mine to fill -I thought I could, I believed I should and I did all that was necessary to be her answer when all else crumbled around her. Enabling you may ask? Probably, it is hard to discern in the moment. When your child is broken it is a natural force within to fix and save. I don't know how to not do that. I don't know how to let her go........... I believe it is what I have to do, I just don't know how. The 'Thanksgiving' thing wold make quite a statement about letting go, too much? Your thoughts would be considered.



Anonymous said...

Dear Gail,

"With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees" The Invisible Woman by Nicole Johnson for a hug from me.

Gail said...

Thanks anonymous. Nice to see you again.


Gail said...


I listened to 'Nicole Johnson's video about the Invisible Woman".

"Thank you" and thanks for the hug.

Love and hope for all mother's