Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Strangers in a Strange Land

Dearest Daughter,

Adolescence is making thingsa bit rocky at the moment. (You've been grounded till the end of the month for example). And at some point recently I desperately felt like I needed to reach out to you about this strange land we are wandering through. And because I'm not adept at human speech, I wrote it down.

At the moment, you still have it (in fact you made a point to show me that you still had it, which pleased me more than I let on. We are both masters at telling each other things that matter while pretending that they don't). But by the time you read this I am sure it will be long gone. So I'll copy and paste it here.

I love you,

Daddy


Dearest Daughter,

You have said that there’s no point in saying I’m sorry when I lose my temper because I’m just going to lose it again one day. And that’s true. That is unfortunately true.

But please never ever think I don’t love you. I love you so SO much. That has never changed – not in our darkest moments. And it isn’t ever going to. No matter how pissy I get, you know that I have always been there for you. And while it may be true that I lose my tempers sometimes when you don’t deserve it, you also know that even when you DO deserve it, I am always going to forgive you. Shoot, I keep doing stuff for you even WHILE I’m angry with you.

But here’s the thing: I’m scared. Just pants-wetting scared. And lost. Most all the time. I have NO idea what I’m doing. It is my job (the most important job I have) to keep you safe….. but at the same time give you the freedom to let you grow. AND I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO BOTH OF THOSE AT THE SAME TIME!!!

First part is easy – just lock you up and never let you out. Second part is easy – just toss you out the door and let you do whatever. But BOTH of them TOGETHER???

So I do make mistakes. I wake up almost every morning think “Ohhh. I should have done that SO differently. I could have done that so much better than I did.”

And I know that you are JUST as scared and lost in all this as I am. Because here’s the deal – we’re BOTH doing something we’ve never done before. I have NO IDEA how to be the parent of a teenager. And you have NO IDEA how to BE a teenager. We are both clueless and we are both nervous and neither of us really knows what’s going on and we are just bumbling through it all the best we can, making a ton of mistakes but trying so very hard to get it right.

But please never ever think, for all of my fumbling and fussing, that I don’t love you fiercely. Because I do, so very much.  (And the proof is the fumbling and fussing. I don’t get upset about things I don’t care about.)

I love you kid. Always have. Always will.

And it’s okay, because we are both going to get through this.

(also – I leave you alone in your room and hang in mine trying not to bother you because I know that privacy at your age is very important.

But that is the only reason. I don’t want you to mistake it for me not being interested in you or not caring about you. (There’s a reason I asked for your time as my birthday present). I was here for you before you hid away. And I will be here for you when you eventually come back.)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday, July 28, 2017

Change

Dearest Daughter,

I miss you.

I can say that now, here. Because you won’t read this until years from now, when it no longer matters. I do not want you to feel guilty as I did, constantly listening to my mother and grandmother mourning how I used to be, as though my growing up had been a personal affront. And I do not now nor ever want you to slow up or feel shamed or apologetic for growing into a strong and healthy young woman. So I keep my mouth shut in the here and now

But God I miss you.

I miss the time we spent together. I miss every game we played. I miss every minute of the times you allowed me into the bright world of your childhood. I was grateful, for I knew it was a “limited-time offer” which would end. I just never counted on how fast it would go or much I would miss it - and the you you were then.

At the same time, I used to think that there were only two of you – child, and adolescent. And I’m starting to gain enough distance to recognize that that is not so. You were not one single person throughout childhood, but many.  One day, it was all about stuffed animals and setting up classrooms with them. Then it was all about Barbies and their relationships. Then it was all about making up dances. Then it was all about card games. Then it was all about…

And I can see now that each of those were not just changes of interest, but changes of you – demarcations of the fundamental shifts in your being. So where we are now is not something new after all… just the same dance we’ve always done, even if the music has changed.

Which is comforting.

So I miss deeply the closeness we once had, and the time I once was allowed to share with you. But I loved all your other selves – and survived their transitions. So there is no reason to think I won’t love all your future selves and all the future transitions just as well.

So go be who you need to be today. And change it all tomorrow if need be. Grow! And NEVER feel you have to apologize for it.


You old man loves you, no matter who you are.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This

Dearest Daughter,

Some days I worry that I've taught you nothing.
(And other days I shudder with fear that I have).

Yesterday on this blog I repeated my mantra for you not to worry about the actions of others - just always be the best Moiya you can be.

Today I leave you this - which is even more important:

Forgive.

Don't wait till or if you think they deserve it. People are bastards. They'll rarely deserve it.

Forgive them because YOU deserve it.


I took me a lot of years of carrying around hurts and burdens that I didn't need to have carried before I finally figured this out. This knowledge was bought at a huge price.

And once you understand it, dear girl, you'll have something worth having.

I promise.
(And you know your Dad doesn't make promises lightly)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Your Song

Dearest Daughter,

You've got this thing lately about songs. When we're driving you'll hear a song and say "This is my song to Mommy" or "That is Mommy's song to Travis."

Today we were discussing what could be your song to me. I already knew what I wanted for my song to you, but didn't say anything. Partly because I felt sappy.  Also because you don't like Simon and Garfunkel.

Also because you didn't ask.  ;)

So I'll do it now. This is my song to you, sweet girl:

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When you're down and out,
When you're on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I'll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

Best You

Dearest Daughter,

It's been a rough week. I've been convinced for most of it that I was about to get fired (still am). The water heater failed and we haven't had hot water for a week (added to the fact that the $105 part I had to special order failed to fix the problem. And we've come to the realization that within  week or two, we're going to have to help Duncan to leave this world. The vet says her kidneys are going, and after a brief hopeful spell, this week she's taken a turn for the worse, getting thinner and thinner and wanting to be held constantly.

None of which has helped with my raging depression and certainly hasn't made me easy to live with. And then the week ended with another note from your teacher complaining about disruptive behavior and shoddy work.

Of course, you did what you usually do - tried to deflect it by comparisons to people who were worse. Usually it's other students ("Billy Jo behaves WAY worse than I do"). This time surprisingly you tried to use the fact that your teacher was texting in class.

And I told you again, as I have in the past, will in the future, and do now: I don't care about them. I don't care if one kid eats puppies and another has cured cancer. There will ALWAYS be people worse that you, just as there will ALWAYS be people better than you.

I don't care about them. I care about you. And what I want - what I expect - from you, is that you be the very best you, the very best Moiya that you can be. This week, you weren't. It happens.

But there's always next week. Be the best Moiya there is. And remember that I love you.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Dearest Daughter,

At the moment you are shut up in your room, texting your friends. I've been clearing out some of your old toys that  you said you no longer wanted, and those two things together usually put me in a sad frame of mind.

I sometime miss the child you used to be, the games we used to play together, and the closeness we used to share. And I sometimes used to write blog entries about how sad it all was. (I didn't post them, as they were too driify with self-pity even for me - but I wrote plenty of them).

Because it is a hard thing to be outgrown. Your brain knows that it has to be, and that it's a good thing. But your heart says otherwise.

And then I found a comment posted online that snapped me back into focus. It was so exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it, that I kept it. And I take it out and reread it often, to make sure that I remember:

"I am 63 years old, my "babies" are 40 and 38. Here's is what I know. You are in the early stages of what is to come. My advice is to give a hug whenever possible, every day, even when your child makes it clear they think they are too big for a hug. Treasure each and every moment, each and every stage of growth. Do not be sad about what it "used to be like", instead embrace all the new little things about every "new normal" that is now and yet to come. Listen. then, Listen some more. Children don't always want your guidance or your advice, they just want to tell you things. The more you listen, the less you talk, the more they want to tell you. Show up at everything they are doing as often as your schedule will let you, even when they say you don't have to be there, even if they say they don't "need" you there. They will always notice that you are there, even if you are just standing quietly, unobtrusivley in the background, giving them a smile and a wave. The fact that you are always there to see them during the events that are important to them, will remain in their memories long after the event you are attending with them is forgotten. Show them your emotions. Tell them how important they are to you. Tell them how it warms your heart when they smile at you. Take photos, lots of photos. Photos are important to you now, photos become important to them later. ~ Pj Jackson"

I love you. I hope that future you will be able to look back and say that I learned from Mr. Jackson, and that I got it right.