Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Edited with honorable mention?

I have written before about chapters of lives - most specifically children. As adults, we write the chapters of our kids lives until they are old enough to write their own chapters. It is a HUGE responsibility - and the impact, result of the chapters we author are for a life-time. Children are innocent, vulnerable and trust that those in authority in their lives will write loving and honorable chapters. As we all know, this is not always the case - and when it is 'close-to-home' it makes reading/seeing the chapters being written agonizing. I say distinctly, "Only YOU can change their story". Separate from whatever part/lines are written by me and Skipp the bulk, or theme of their story is most affected by their Mom's and the choices they make in people they allow in to their lives, - significant others and friends, alike. We represent and influence a sense of normalcy and consistency and traditions that are life-giving, loving and honest. The chapters or lines in chapters we 'author' are where our power lies - the rest of the chapter is beyond our control. The distinction is quite clear. In that distinction I have found peace and purpose - holding the 'Serenity Prayer" up to each awareness. - accepting what I cannot change, changing what I can, and relying on our wisdom to know the difference.
I had an epiphany of sorts. when my daughter let her "X" come back in to her and her son's life I was very upset - and again I became righteous and told her that he had to come to us and 'explain' his intentions'. I have since SO let go of that - his staying or going has nothing to do with us. We are responsible for what we do NOT what he does or what his intentions are. I have told my daughter our concerns and her decision to try again with him is up to her. The other 'sort-of-epiphany' is that I was often over-involved in her choices because I believed that it was my responsibility to "pick up the pieces" of her mistakes and save her - so if I could stop her before the negative results my life would be simpler. I realized it is NOT my responsibility to fix anything or save her from herself. What a HUGE relief. Of course I would listen and love and even offer suggestions but the fixing and saving is all up to her now should this latest risky venture go terribly sour.
Which brings me now to the other 'Epiphany' that prompted this post. Some times I digress. I realized that I have been edited. Just like cuts from a movie or book that lay on the editing room floor - my character in the book has been down-sized to a minor distant role. My other daughter, the one who lives 500 miles away - I haven't been a main character or had a purposeful role in the chapters f their lives for a long time. It was a real eye opener, harsh and subduing as I finally accepted that I am not and have not been a main character for quite some time. I am written in when I am needed for some advice or when there is a significant event happens - usually for the good - the problems and outcomes from bad choices are often covered over and hidden. I usually find out but it is a watered down or exaggerated version with some facts - not all. I fought to be involved for many years - and it got away from me anyway. So much has changed, happened, and is happening of which I am not a part. And sadly, I know I have been edited. I have had so many chapters in their lives years ago - I was a main character. Time and distance has changed all that. :-(

And please, that's not to say that I don't understand the natural editing that happens between parents and their children. I know that over time, as they grow that other people and things are filling their chapters and that the parents are not as involved. I guess I just wished that when I "read their chapters" that I don't cringe, grimace in horror, hold my breath and feel paralyzed because I know what is happening or I don't know what is happening - either way has it's own set of consequences. And of course there are good things too in which I delight. Selfishly, or maybe it isn't. I hope for "honorable mention".

I am so grateful that my Mom is still a main character in all my chapters and that she shares and celebrates in all the parts of my story. I also know my daughter(s) love me even when they are making their choices and living their lives and writing their chapters and their children's chapters and they hide it from me and edit me out - I know, they know, I know!! There are times when they are very forthcoming and other times not so much. Strange, my son has never edited me - never. Even when he lived in Prague I was not edited out.

Like I said, it was an epiphany when I realised that not only do we write our children's stories when they are young but some times they leave us parents out of their chapters when they are older. I guess we all edit our stories - I wonder whom have you edited out and whom has edited you out? This editing of our stories doesn't only apply to parents and kids - it goes to partners and friends and family and so forth. I have to be honest, I don't like being edited, natural progression or otherwise, and the times I have edited someone it didn't feel good either. As my daughter prepares to give birth this June I am painfully aware that I am not in this chapter. I will send baby stuff and flowers and share in his birth as best I can from here - the distance and the editing is profouind and so evident. It is hard to write and say that I ache for her - for us and how it used to be before I was edited. She ends every phone call with...............................
"I love you more, Mom....." How do I make that enough, if any of you know how please tell me. I think the answer is I have to accept the way it is now - reconcile the editing......... and so it goes, so it goes................................
(And so it Goes)? That is the title of my book - now almost 200 pages. Funny - I am "editing" what I have written so far - much better feel/use of the word, huh? :-)



17 comments:

Diana said...

Wow you wrote this about me and my own kids! Ha! I just never thought of it that way. But I have learned to shut up and butt out! Not completely with Katie yet. She's still a work in progress!
Although I do have those moments that I would love to edit her! Ah, if only!
I love the way you think Gail.
Love Di ♥

PENolan said...

*sigh*
Hang in there, Gail.

Cinner said...

Gail, I just wrap my arms around you and give you a huge hug,,,I think sometimes children are too hard on their parents expecting them to know everything. I used to be one of those kids. I have edited a lot of my life and I am accountable for me. You have so much to deal with that you do not need any extra stress on you...you know I am saying this out of love. Give it up to God and love yourself....oh my friend at times like this I am glad I do not have kids, I can not give you any advise, but I am here for you when you need me.

Tramp said...

Oh Gail, the feeling in this post!
We have experienced so much of this with my wife's children. They live locally but have sometimes been so distant. There have been times when it has caused her much heartache.
My mother once said to me, "I don't worry about you but I care about you". My mother was a wonderful woman.
When will that book be published?
Tramp

Wanda said...

It would be sad to be edited out completely, but it is a natural process in children, to develope their own independence.

We all experience different degrees of emotions, with most things in our lives, both sad and happy ones. There's ups and downs for all of us, until that smooth level is found in most parent child relationships. Love always wins out though.

♥...Wanda

Gail said...

HI DIANA-

I so appreciate your understanding. And no, Katie is still very much connected - and you and Jake are main characters. And you are so right about as parents we want to 'edit our kids out' at times!! :-)

Love you Di
'Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HEY TRISH-

So nice to see you. Thanks.

Love you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI CINNER-

I love how supported I feel by you - and those hugs!!! Wonderful....
I am not stressed so not to worry -
ok? Thanks SO much.

Love Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI TRAMP-

I SO appreciate your kind understanding and sharing about your wife's children. Kids!
realy like what your Mom said. :-)

And my book? I still have about another third to write. phew.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI WANDA_

thank you SO much for your understanding - "Mom to Mom". :-) Your gentle and kind words are very comforting.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Eileen said...

My goodness, Gail, this is a 'right on the mark' post!
I have been so edited out of my children's lives! But I came to terms with it a long time ago.
I remember when they were teenagers how their friends became more important than family, and that was fine, I knew they'd eventually come around and for the most part they did, but still, they all lead their own lives. Some choose to include us more than others, and even the ones that still live under our roof shut us out of a lot of what's going on.
But like you, I've learned to let go. And I found that life is not horrible once you do that, in fact, it's quite liberating.
And, however much these 'kids' wish to include us in their lives, I'm very happy for that.
I think the fact that you have a great partner and gather so much support and joy from that relationship, well, that wonderful relationship must distract your heart from the hurt that could run deep if your situation was different. I am so Blessed too.

Best of luck with your book! And best of luck writing the chapters of your own life while adding to the chapters of your loved one's lives!

Love to you,
Eileen

Gail said...

HI EILEEN-
your wise and wonderful words speak my heart and mind - we are so alike in such experiences of Motherhood. And yes, I/we are SO blessed to have loving and life-giving life's partners. :-)

Love to you my friend
Gail
peace.....

C. Om said...

Gail, I feel you!

I can totally understand and relate to the editing process. I have a similar relationship with the mother of my child. I can speak from experience when I tell you that you can be released from the grief of being left out and empowered by the situation at the same time!

It all comes from dwelling on the abundance in the awkward circumstances rather than dwelling in the lack! To illustrate; the love and well wishes you have for your daughters are UNSTOPPABLE! Take this fact, and use it to your advantage! Your love will never tarnish or disappear, so feel the love and vision you have for your daughters regularly. You will come to realize that this feeling alone is strong enough to propel you to do all that you can to help enrich their life experiences!

As far as being left out; don't worry about it! Worry never solved a single problem! Instead, bring your attention back to the facts. You have unconditional love for the people you care about. Even though it might go against some of your standards, at the end of the day, you want your loved ones to be happy. So if it makes them happy, them it makes YOU happy!. All you really want is for them to be happy. Everything else in between is just stress you unnecessarily bring on yourself. Let go of mind based judgments and feel the heart based truth of the matter.

Unconditional love can not lose! Ever!

Peace & Love

Gail said...

HI C OM

"Thank you" SO much for taking the time to share your heart, your wisdom, your love........ I understand everything you said AND I also live it most6 days. Some times my fear for her, them, overwhelms me - and YES, I always find a way to let my love be felt by them and like I wrote, the candles stay lit in the window as a tangible symbol of my love.

Again, "thank you"

Love Gail
peace.....

Iktomi said...

i can totally relate to what you say. there was a time i very much "edited out" my mother and the rest of my family, because they wouldn't accept my decisions and kept trying to live my life for me instead of trusting me to do what i need to in order to make my life happy.
over time, they have seen that it wasn't really a mistake to move in with a guy 18 years older than i was, as we are now married and have a wonderful son. they still are regretful of my choice to leave christianity, so there will never again be total trust or respect between us. however, they have finally accepted that their daughter knows who she is and has chosen a life that makes her happy and i have gladly welcomed them back into my life. :) i really did miss my mom.

usually when children "edit out" their parents it's because they feel like they are constantly being judged, and that erodes trust. perhaps your children are making mistakes, and perhaps not, but either way trying to make decisions for them will only erode trust, not build it. most mothers don't ever see this and i really really really hope that when my son is grown and out in this big wide world that i will remember my own advice and take it! (but i'm saying that with the possibility that time and love will cloud my vision. a mother's love is so powerful that sometimes it overrides common sense.)

it's not easy to be a mother that's for sure!

Iktomi said...

oh i forgot to say, most children (not all but most) don't want a bad relationship with their parents, but they want a relationship on THEIR terms not yours. :P selfish? yes, but it's the mother's job to be selfless not the child's, unfortunate as it is for the mother!

time may change things. when i had a child i suddenly saw my mom in a new light. so don't give up hope. your children may never see "the error of their ways" but they might put up an effort to let you back in anyway. for me, it was tentative. i was expecting harsh judgment from my mother when i started reaching out to her again, but instead i got love and acceptance, so our relationship is where it needs to be again. the only thing you can do is be ready with love and acceptance when your children start making that tentative first step towards you again (when THEY are ready of course!) (again this is why i said it's so hard to be a mom!!!)

Gail said...

HI IKTOMI

thank you SO much for you wise comments and sharing some of your personal journey. I understand everything you wrote and I KNOW oh so well how at times, my "advice' felt like judgments. It is way more complexed though as most things are.

Again, "thank you" for your shared wisdom.

Love Gail
peace.....