Time Keeps On Slipping


Time Keeps On Slipping

I had surgery on Wednesday of this week and am at a friend's house recovering. Last night I was wondering why I was not feeling better and why the anesthesia was impacting me. My friend was sitting on the couch with me and we both had the same revelation. The surgery was just the day before. It felt as if four days had passed.

You know what? I just want to get honest here. No one in my family will see this post because no one in my family will check out this site. I am just gonna get honest and let it be.

On January 12 I will have been clean and sober for 34 years. That seems like a long time but it feels like a short time. Because my children were impacted by my years of coloring outside the lines I felt an enormous amount of guilt and shame. As they have gotten older and my life has become more isolated in caregiving for my parents and now for my husband I have had a moment of clarity about my children. My son lives 8 miles from me and my daughter and her family live in Virginia. Both of them have plenty on their plates with family and schedules going in different directions. For a long time, I have felt hurt by the lack of relationship with either one of my kids. My son and I see each other and I know he loves me but there is nothing that allows me to believe he would drop what he is doing and come make sure I am o.k. My daughter, in Virginia, and I have little contact. Again, I know she loves me but there is nothing that allows me to believe she would drop what she is doing and come make sure I am o.k.  And I am just talking in emergency situations not anything about holidays or such.

For years I have hung myself up on that cross of shame and guilt and made excuses for their lack of attention to me. And even writing this my "other" mind is telling me I am making something out of nothing and to grow up. Well, I have grown-up and I still need the attention and love of my children. I don't like to admit it because I don't like to feel that hurt and I have questioned that hurt over and over again. I also felt vulnerable and have been unable to express myself to them.

Christmas I get a phone call or a text later in the day from my daughter and her family. Christmas, my son lives eight miles from me and I do not get an invite to come down if even for a little while to be with them in the morning. They do not want to come to my place because I have cats and because they have their own places and schedules. I understand that completely. I am leaving out a lot here for the sake of keeping this post short. And I want anyone reading to know that I love both of my children very much.

I love them very much but I am unwilling to allow myself to expect anything from them anymore. My expectations are stealing my joy and hurting me at every turn. So, I asked my son why they never invite me to come down on Christmas day. He says he thought I was already busy. He says it isn't personal and that he loves me. I tell him that I feel very awkward having the discussion but I had to ask. He says they have so much going on and so much emotionalism that he just forgets. I know that and I don't want to get caught up in it. I want to visit, see what Santa brought and have a cup of coffee with them and go back home. What I really want is to be asked, to be included as family. I don't think he got it but he has taken care of my cats while I am recovering and that is a good thing.

It is pretty much the same with my daughter only they live several hours away and have three children, jobs, etc. It isn't that I don't understand about being busy and having little time. What I don't understand is the absence of warmth or any kind of reaching out for a relationship with me. My daughter was 15 miles from where I am recovering and did not come see me. She called and we had a nice chat. When we hung up I asked my friend to tell her I am sleeping should she call again.

I don't want the leftovers of my children's time. Maybe what I want is not going to happen. I have made efforts but they have been awkward because I am afraid I will burst into tears.

I realized today that I am building a family. My friends, my church family, so many people who reach out and care for me in real and tangible ways. AA provides long-term love and support. I did not want to accept that this may be how family looks to me. I wanted a family with my kids. I wanted to be visible and real with them. I wanted to be wanted. If that ever happens then I will love it. But I do have a family all around me and I do get to help others and receive help in return and to know that I am a valued part of a family of friends and friends I have never seen, like all of you in Caregiving.

My plan is to let go of what I have been wishing for so many years and to get on with what I do have in my life. I also do not plan to acknowledge last-minute greetings or texts or to wait for the phone to ring so I know what my son's plans are when he does involve me. I plan to set my children free of my expectations and to set me free from them also. I plan to build on the relationships that are here and available to me. I plan to pray for my children and to be friendly with them when the need arises.

I am finished with the chapter of my life that expended so much energy and wasted so many hours on sorrowing for what I wanted to happen. I am grateful for this insight and I am not angry with my children. I am hurt but that will get better also. I am waking up to a new time in my life and a family that stretches out for miles and miles. I love being loved and I love to return the love. I am worth love and I am worth the attention of people who care about me. My children are grown and they get to have their own lives without me mentally holding onto one of their legs.

How does it feel to finally let go without resentment and anger? I feel as if I have run up the white flag of surrender. I surrender to win. I win my life back from the mental gymnastics I kept in place for so long. I am free from the burden of self. Yay! To God be the glory!