Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Once again, I'm teetering between heartfelt apologies to my blog friends and feelings of being overwhelmed.
We all have one: that proverbial wall we throw ourselves against, bloodying ourselves in trying to make something/someone what it isn't.
This has been my life for five years with my daughter, 'C'. C is 23 and has 'Asperger's Syndrome' -- a high functioning form of autism.
We have been estranged and during this time I have reached out time and again to her: usually this is through E-mail's where I'm asking how she is, if there's anything she needs or wants, etc. I also frequently send her gift cards to buy groceries, personal items, etc. as she only works off and on in retail and is often out of work having to rely heavily on her roommate/best friend for food, shelter and such.
Most of the time my reaching out goes unacknowledged and I only see her once a year or so and that is usually at the behest of my Mom or Mother-in-law. They'll plan an event around trying to mend the much badly in need of repair fences between C and I.
In spite of her cool exterior and behavior to me, I'll take anything I can get -- and it's not been much.
In spite of her rejection and pride, my pride takes a back seat to the love I have for her with my just wanting to make things right between us any way I can, much to the chagrin of Ed and B, who sees it as futile and advising me to step back.
While I've known all along that they were right, for years now I couldn't tell myself to stop trying.
Most everyone has advised me that one day she will come back around but that it has to be in her own time and her own terms, not mine.
Many have relayed stories to Ed about going through similar situations with their adult kids who, at around the age of 30, finally grew up and realized the love of family -- and that things aren't as black and white as they once thought.
Sometimes it's not until they have children of their own that it finally hits them.
I have fiercely held onto this as it gave me immense hope. That is until yesterday.
On Friday, May 14th B will turn 20. C wanted to see him on his birthday and via a message through my Mom, we started making arrangements for lunch on that day via our usual form of communication; E-mail. I conveyed my great joy in looking forward to seeing her and that B felt the same, as did both of her Grandma's which were going to join us that day.
But C, holding onto bitterness and convoluted thoughts and memories, declined wanting to see Ed and made that clear in response to my E-mail.
For the record, C was my daughter from a previous relationship -- I got pregnant when I was 19. Her biological father out of the picture since her infancy, Ed raised and then legally adopted her after we were married. C received a new birth certificate and Ed's last name. She was loved. IS loved still.
Sparing you the private and painful details of mine and C's correspondence, I'll only say that I wrote in reply to her that I think this estrangement has been going on long enough and that whatever it is she thinks about Ed and I, she is mistaken. She has polluted her own memories as a need for attention and sympathy. I also spoke of her Asperger's as a need to get her to understand that all she is feeling may not be entirely of her own doing, which didn't go well.
She spat venom calling me vile names and saying to never contact her again. "We're done and this time it's for good."
I fell to pieces.
I then spoke to Ed, my Mom, B, Meeko (who gave me the kick in the pants I needed) and received a lovely, supportive E-mail from Steven Anthony. And just this morning I briefly spoke to my friend who has MS.
During the latter conversation I relayed that after my initial reaction of pain, that I then felt a sense of serenity and -- dare I say? -- relief.
I couldn't quite figure this out: What was wrong with me? Could I truly be the monster she seems to think I am???
My friend said; "No, Jo. When you beat your head against a brick wall for so long, it simply feels good when you finally STOP."
An epiphany hit me as hard as that wall I've been battering myself against.
So, while hope for her and for us remains inside of me, no longer will I bloody myself.
Instead, I will learn to swim in the new calm that has washed over me with gentle waters and the wisdom to know when to let go and let be what needs to simply be.
Thank you, my friends.