Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It was so easy to say that I thought things would work out between my daughter and I when she was away. You could not tell me I didn't have it all figured out. Now that she has been home for a little while, i'm realzing that not only do I not have the answers, there's a distance between us.
My daughter has actually put some distance between herself and our entire family. She gets up in the morning, goes to work, does whatever she needs to do when she gets off, comes home, says hello and kisses everyone, and retreats to her room. The only time we see her is when she's getting something to eat or going to the bathroom.
I'm not really sure what to do. How do you try to help someone who doesn't really want to be helped? The situation is really, really difficult. I want to be the mother she says she needs, but how do I do that if she is shutting me out? On one hand she's my daughter and I want to make sure she is okay, but on the other hand she is a grown ass woman and I don't want to invade her space.
I was in the livingroom watching television with a couple of my kids the other day. When I heard my daughter's keys turning the lock I got a knot in my stomach. Knowing what I know has really done a job on the way I feel about her. She feels the way she feels and I totally understand and would never devalue that. The thing is, I know that she thinks everything into the ground. I was nowhere near perfect, but I know that I was not a terrible mother. I'm trying with all of my heart to see things from her side but it's hard knowing you're being blamed for things you're not sure you're responsible for.
I save everything my kids give me. My husband and I were doing some cleaning the other day and I came across some letters my daughter wrote me. The emotions I felt reading them this time were very different from when I first received them. When I first read her words telling me how much she depended on me and how I was always there for her I felt proud. Now i'm not sure what to feel. Was she lying? Was she trying to make me feel better? Did she not mean any of those words?
It's so crazy because I have always prided myself on being the mom whose kids talk to them about any and everything. I have always told my children that they can come to me with anything and they do. After the episode with my daughter, i'm starting to question my relationships with all of my children. I even sat down with each of them to reiterate that I am always here. They all said they knew, but in the back of my mind I wonder. I don't want to second guess my ability as a mother, but should I?
This is not how I want things to be. My marriage counselor comes back next week and i'm trying to decide whether or not I should bring this whole situation up. I need my husband's help, but i'm not sure I want to tell him how I found out about what's going on with our daughter. I gave him a tidbit, but he doesn't know the whole story. I'm not sure what i'm going to do. I just know something's got to give.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
My husband and I had a great time while our kids were gone. We went out a few times, but that wasn't really all that important. The most important thing was the time we spent alone. We really connected and the time was definitely needed. I really do love him. I was able to forget about all the drama and just lose myself in the time I spent with my man.
It was really nice. He picked me up from work every day and we would either go out for dinner or drinks or go home. It didn't really matter. All we cared about was spending time together. I was wondering what was going to happen when his usual hang out day came around. I never mentioned it to him. All I did was wait. I made plans in my head about what I was going to do and kept it moving.
His hang out day came around and he called and said he would be picking me up from work. I was surprised. We went to get something to eat and to our favorite dive for happy hour. While we were there, hubby started telling me about how his co-workers tried to get him to go out with them. He said he told them there was no way he was going to go out with them when he had a beautiful woman waiting to spend time with him. I thought that was sweet.
I'm very thankful that we had the opportunity to be at home without the kids. It is very rare that something like that happens. We could walk around naked if we wanted to, and we did. It's always nice to relax in your own home and lounge around and feel comfortable. We also had some of the best sex we've had in a very long time.
I know this will not be happening any time soon so i'm going to cherish the time we had. We made a date box and put a lot of things inside that we would like to do. Every week we're going to pick something out of the box. We came up with things that we have never done or haven't done in a long time. I'm looking forward to all the fun things we're going to do.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I'm glad my kids are gone this week. It's been nice spending time with my husband and i've had time to think about the situation with my daughter. I feel like i'll be ready to face the future of our relationship when she returns. After the emotional roller coaster I was on after I read her journal, I needed time to get it together.
I feel bad about reading her private thoughts but at the same time I feel like it was suppose to happen. She definitely needed to say some things to me. I know she didn't say all that she could have, but when we talked I could see that it made her feel better. It's not easy carrying all of that animosity and hurt around. Trust me I know. I am in my mid forties and have so many parental issues that it's crazy.
The thing that hurts most about the things I read is that I thought I did a pretty good job of not repeating my mother's mistakes. When I realized I repeated them, it almost destroyed me. I thank God for marriage counseling. I learned how to deal with things that make me unhappy. Instead of closing myself up like I once did, I have learned to try and get to the cause of the problem and find solutions.
I can't worry about the past. Mistakes have been made and feelings have been hurt and it's time for correction. Apologies are in order and i've talked to my husband about it. He has to learn to stop letting his embarrassment about his actions turn into anger. I had to make him understand that excuses and pointing fingers was not going to get it this time. His child, and possibly children, is hurting because of his actions and he needs to stop skirting around the issues and face them. I didn't tell him about the journal, I only told him that our child is carrying a whole lot of the past on her shoulders.
We're going to start doing more things as a family. I'm going to make sure of that. I have to admit that most of my energy has been focused of working through my marital issues. We're doing a lot better. It's time for us to band together and make sure that our children are okay. I'm feeling positive. Things are going to be okay.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
So, I woke up with my daughter on my mind. She spent the night with her college friend and I went out to dinner with my husband. I did a lot of praying and asked God to help me decide whether or not I should tell him about what was going on. As we were eating and having a good time, something told me to wait. I stopped thinking about it and enjoyed the time we were spending together.
When I got up this morning, I tried to decide what would be the right thing to do. I really wanted to talk to her, but she said she wasn't ready. After a lot of thought, I sat down and wrote her a five page letter. I poured my heart out and tried to make her understand some of the things that I felt have affected our relationship. I left the letter on her bed and began to clean the house.
The rest of the kids have already left so I figured one good cleaning should do it for the week. My husband was at work and I had the place to myself. I do my best thinking while I clean. All I could think of was what her reaction would be when she read the letter. I poured all of my nervous energy into my cleaning.
My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest when I heard my daughter come in. I was cleaning one of the bathrooms and I heard her door close. She knocked on the door and said hello and went back into her room to pack for her trip. About ten minutes later I heard her outside the bathroom door. I asked if she needed to come in and she said no and went back into her room.
I decided to go and knock on her door and she asked if we could talk when I was done cleaning. She had tears in her eyes and I told her the cleaning could wait. We had a nice talk. She said she has had a lot of resentment and anger for a long time because she felt like she did not have a childhood. She felt like our relationship revolved around what her father was or was not doing. She's impressed by the changes he is making but feels like she is just getting to know him.
A lot was said. We talked and cried and I apologized. I wish I could tell her that I know the extent of her issues, but I could not say anything. She only went so far. Even though it was a good talk, I know that she did not even scratch the surface of her pain. She said she doesn't harbor the bad feelings she had and would rather work on the future instead of concentrating on the past.
I gave my daughter the opportunity to tell me how she really feels, but she didn't really take it. She sugar coated things. I know that I am her mother and saying certain things to your mother is not easy. I'm going to keep working on it. She has a lot that she needs to get off her chest. Today's conversation was a good start. I feel like our relationship will eventually be repaired. I know that I will definitely work toward that happening.
We ended with a hug and she continued to pack and get ready for her trip. After she left, I tried to think of ways that I can help her. I'm glad she's going to therapy and I really hope it is beneficial. She's been going for a couple months. She didn't mention it when we talked. I'm just happy she is trying to get some help and it impresses me that she took that step. She could have turned to alcohol, drugs, or even sex, to ease her pain but she didn't.
My daughter said she knows we did the best we could and she appreciates that. She also said that we have had a lot of good times and good things happen in our family, but the bad just seem to stick out. I felt like she was trying to make me feel better. I guess she can't help it. I know she loves me despite my faults. We promised to be honest with one another from now on. She said she would tell me if I did or said something that hurt her, but i'm not sure she can. My child lives in her head and she thinks things into the ground. I know that is part of the reason she is going through so much.
I really do not know where to go from here. I pray that I figure out the path that I am suppose to take. I love my daughter with all of my heart and, no matter what it takes, i'm going to do my best to make sure she is okay.
Friday, April 10, 2009
So, I went to work the morning after reading my daughter's journal. I was at my desk staring off into space. I sent my daughter a text last night and she answered it this morning. There was a situation I had with some other members of my family and she was kind of in the middle. I texted her to tell her that I had spoken to one of the family members I had the problem with. I retrieved into my own head for a while after the situation and was very upset with my daughter. We never really talked about it. I sent her a text to let her know things were resolved with the family member and this is what ended up happening:
Me - I spoke to ___________. We talked about what happened and cleared the air. Everything is fine.
Daughter - It's nice that you talked to her.
Me - I know. It was kind of petty. I'm glad we're over it.
Daughter - We never talked about what happened.
Me - ? We? Are you still upset about what happened?
Daughter - Yes
Me - I didn't know that. Why didn't you say something?
Daughter - You said we would talk about it.
Me - I did? (I have absolutely no recollection of telling her we would talk)I'm sorry. Why didn't you remind me?
Daughter - I didn't feel like initiating the conversation. (In her journal she said she was not going to say anything if I didn't)
Me - Do you feel like you can't talk to me?
Daughter - I'm just use to dealing with things on my own.
Me - I really did not know you were still upset. I'm very sorry about that. I love you very much and don't want to hurt your feelings.
Daughter - I love you too.
Me - I feel a huge distance between us and I don't know what it's about.
Daughter - I feel like there were a lot of struggles in our family and I had to grow up fast.
Me - Really? Do you feel like I wasn't there for you?
Daughter - Sometimes
Me - I think we should sit down and have an honest conversation. I want you to get the things you've been carrying around off your chest. What time are you leaving tomorrow. (she's going away for the week)
Daughter - 11:30
Me - Do you want to talk before you leave?
Daughter - I don't really want to have this conversation at all. I would rather just move forward.
Me - And carry around bad feelings? That's not good. Plus how do I move forward if I don't know what i'm leaving behind? I don't want you to be in your forties like me and still have mommy issues.
Daughter - At some point i'll need to talk about it. I just don't want to talk about it now. Just know that I love and appreciate you.
Me - Okay, I love you. I'm here whenever you're ready to talk.
That was it. I don't know what's going to happen next, but i'm going to try my best to get to the bottom of her feelings. I love my daughter very much and what she seems to be going through really worries me. I know how I feel about my mother and I definitely don't want her to feel the same way.
I am so out of sorts today. I did something that I would never want someone to do to me and now i'm paying for it. My mind has been racing since last night and I don't know what to do about the situation I created for myself.
I don't know why but lately I have been thinking a lot about how the direction my relationship has taken over the years affected my daughter. She has been with us from the beginning and has seen every twist and turn. There was a time when my husband and I would argue every day and she was there. I've always known that she knew of his infidelities and wondered what she thought of me, but that's not something I felt comfortable asking her about. It has been the 800 pound gorilla in the room for years.
I've done my best to raise my children and not bring my own issues to the table. I thought I was doing an okay job, but it turns out that's not true at all, at least not when my daughter is concerned. I've always known that life hasn't been easy for her, but I had absolutely no idea how bad she has been feeling. And then...
I was in my daughter's room using her computer. I needed a piece of paper to write something down and when I went to get it out of what I thought was a notebook I saw, in big bold letters, on the last page with something written on it, "I DON'T WANT TO BE LIKE HER!" I read the previous sentence and it turns out she was talking about me.
I've written in journals for a very long time and I know how pissed off I would feel if I knew someone read my most private thoughts. I stood in the middle of the room with my daughter's journal in my hand trying to decide what to do. I went back and forth and came to the conclusion that, even thought I knew it was wrong, I had to know what she was feeling. I made the wrong decision and read my daughter's journal. I felt bad for doing it, but I felt even worse when I was done.
My daughter harbors a monumental amount of resentment toward me. I didn't read the whole thing, but what I did read really threw me for a loop. She said I haven't been emotionally available and she never really felt that she could talk to me. According to my oldest, I was so busy being wrapped up in my own problems that I never had time for hers. She feels like her father and I laid a terrible foundation for her life and her spirit was destroyed in the process.
Never in a million years would I have thought that my daughter, who seems very confident and strong, has low self-esteem, is on the verge of bulimia, and has taken to cutting herself from time to time. I have no idea where she could be cutting because she always wears tank tops and shorts around the house and I have not seen any scars.
She really resents me a lot and feels that she had to grow up quicker than she should have because I was not in any shape to care for her, and her brother once he came along. She says she felt like she was the parent. I would never act as if her feelings are not valid, but I know that I took care of them both. I may have been down from time to time because of their father's nonsense, but I was not absent.
The thing that hurt me most was not seeing anything pertaining to her father. She feels that I am the one who damaged her. His only crime was not being there. It is I who have done everything wrong. I was not there for her. I destroyed her. I'm still in shock. I always thought I was doing a pretty good job. I know I did the best I could.
My relationship with my mother isn't all that great. She was never one I could talk to about things I was going through. After her and my father divorced, the men she met would always come before me. She would cook their breakfast first and make me wait, she made me give one of them the bike my father purchased for me because he needed it for his messenger job (she likes 'em young), and even dated a guy I went to high school with. I did not consider her a good mother at all.
After reading parts of my daughter's journal I feel lilke I am just like her. That makes me crazy because I have always prided myself on the good relationship I share with each and every one of my children. Was I delusional? What did I miss? I have no idea where I went wrong. Did I become so wrapped up in what my husband was doing that I checked out on my child?
I prayed hard before I went to bed last night. I asked God for direction because I knew I could not just bring these issues up without revealing what I did. It's so crazy that I was just wondering about my daughter's feelings in my last post. I guess you really should be careful what you ask for. I feel terrible about what I did, but I guess everything happens for a reason.
There was one good thing. My daughter is getting counseling. She sees a therapist once a week. I hope and pray that it is helping her. I know what it did for her father and I. As long as she puts her all into it and is totally honest, she will get something out of it.
I asked for direction, or a way to begin a dialogue with my child. Ask and ye shall receive. Stay tuned for part 2.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I can't remember the last time this happened, but my husband and I are going to be alone for a whole week! Between spring break and vacation with friends, all our kids will be out of the house next week. It's unbelievable! I can barely contain my excitement.
Our two youngest, who are 12 and 13, will be spending the week with their Godparents. Our 19 year old is going to Florida with his best friend's family, and I think our eldest decided to find something to do so that we could be alone. She is constantly commenting on how much happier we are. She didn't decide to go anywhere until she found out her brother was going to Florida. She's going to spend time with her sorority sisters in Virginia.
Our daughter has been there since the beginning of our relationship. She has seen every up and down. I'm pretty sure she knows her father has done a lot of things that he should not have done. She has never seemed to judge, but I always wonder how she really feels. Her true opinion of me has been a constant ? for me. She has always thanked me for always being there but I guess the shame I feel won't allow me to believe that she doesn't see me as a fool.
I have no idea what we are going to do while our kids are away. We'll probably play it by ear. I do know what we will be doing. It's very hard to get good and passionate when you have a house full of people. We might start ripping each other's clothes off as soon as the last one leaves.
I'm looking forward to the freedom. I've been a mother and a wife for a long time. It isn't often that my husband and I get to just be us. We enjoy each other's company very much and I know that whatever we do will be good. There was a time when I would not have looked forward to my children being away because I felt like they were all I had. Their father would not have been as interested in spending time with me as he is now. He would have spent a few days with me, but he also would have spent a lot without me.
Those days are over for a few reasons. They're over because he has changed a lot and being out is not as important. I can tell that he genuinely enjoys spending family time. It's all in his eyes when he talks to us. We can all see and feel the difference and it's wonderful. No longer is he the man from the O'Jays song. You know the one that says, "Your body's here with me, but your mind is on the other side of town." That was him.
I can also say, without a doubt, that those days are over because i'm not the same person I was. I will not stand for the crap I let slide by because I didn't love myself enough to ask for more. I have made my standards known and told him what will cause me to check out of the relationship and walk right out the door and he knows that I am serious. I'm not looking back. As soon as the future gets a little murky I will see my way through the fog and make a life for myself. I mean that.
I'm counting down to the day when the last child walks out the door. I will wish them all well and hope they have fun. I know I will. It's been a long time since we had hot, steamy, sweaty, bumping, grinding, licking, sucking breathless, passionate.....excuse me I got kind of excited...sex and i'm ready to go there the entire week.
Friday, April 3, 2009
What do you do when someone has an attitude with you? What if you know they have no reason to be upset? My husband has had a slight tude since the situations I described in the previous post. I know I said I was going to talk to him, but I just don't have the energy right now.
I went to the nail salon after work. It was so crowded that I left. I didn't feel like waiting. Thursday is usually the day he hangs out and I look forward to having the time to myself. Unfortunately, he worked the midnight shift the previous night and did a lot of running around, so he decided to stay home. I was kind of pissed when I walked into my bedroom and he was in the bed sleeping.
So, he woke up briefly while I was taking my clothes off and it was apparent he wasn't really feeling me. I know I should have risen above but I just did not feel liek dealing. I said hello, grabbed what I wanted, and went in the living room to watch television. My initial plan was to watch the programs I recorded on the dvr in our bedroom, but Mr. Sunshine was in my space.
I've come a long way and marriage counseling has given me many tools that I can use, but there are still times when I just cannot pay attention to the bull. I couldn't believe he was mad at me and didn't want to feed into it. I had an awesome time on my own doing absolutely nothing.
We wake up about half an hour apart in the morning. Hubby was already up and exercising when I got out of bed. I didn't know what to expect. I could tell he wasn't that happy with me, but he was more than cordial. He tried to play it off, but i'm an expert at reading people. It's all in the eyes. We had nice conversation before he left for work and I went about the business of getting dressed.
It would be great if he would just say what's on his mind and move on. This is something we talked about over and over with our marriage counselor. He was making strides but, slowly but surely, I see him slipping back into old habits. There was a time when I would try to drag things out of him, but this is not one of those times. That is not something I should have to do. After all these years of marriage, and months of marriage counseling, he should be able to tell me when something is wrong.
We will talk about the situation eventually. I know it's petty and that's the exact reason I didn't feel like getting into it. I know my husband and he always makes a big thing out of nothing in an argument. That always takes things to a level where they don't need to be because i'm only going to take so much. I'm in a pretty good place and I refuse to let his attitude bring me down. I will know the right time to ask him what his attitude was about.
For now, i'm worrying about me. I'm will not be putting any extra energy into anyone's petty behavior, and that includes my husband.