A lovely Thai food-fueled evening with our good friends Anna, Fran, and Jeremy last night in their sweet little backyard. This may be the hottest August on record in Denver but for me it’s also been a record of realizing who my friends are, who I can count on…and who I can’t.
I don’t know why I was surprised to know who the “can’t” is.
I never felt so alone, so vulnerable, so cast off as I did that night and the weeks followed after my seizure. Calling my parents was the first thing I did after it happened. Flat on my back, with a head injury, I was crying, upset, freaked out and alone with a 9-year-old in the house. Did they offer to come over? They did not. (They had company, you know. People from out of town. Some things take precedence. What was I thinking?)
Maybe I’m just too good at showing how capable I am in any situation. But let me ask you this: If you took your adult kid to the hospital for tests —scary tests, uncomfortable tests, possible life changing tests—would you offer to take her out for coffee or something afterwards to maybe talk about it? To ease her mind a bit? I guess not. I mean you DO have a lunch date with old friends in an hour and you can’t be late for that.
I may act like a 14-year-old when we’re all together but that’s only because I’m still treated like a petulant 14-year-old. Even my young cousins have mentioned—a few times, when they’re visiting from out of town—my obvious second class status. And at the beginning of the summer, my 9-year-old showed her reticence to go over there. I couldn’t figure out why, but without any prompting from me (I’d NEVER say anything negatiove about anyone in the family) she told me she got really tired of hearing how perfect, what a great swimmer, what a fast learner, what a happy-as-a-clam, how perfectly adorable and amazing her youngest cousin is—from the kid’s mother and grandmother. Yeah, the kid is cute. But jesus, is there nothing else to talk about??? It just kills me with sadness and regret that we moved back here because my beautiful daughter is experiencing exactly what I did 40 years ago.
It makes me more than sad because I can’t even talk about it with the parties that I need to talk with. Defensiveness and insulation is everyone’s middle names and you know, I’m the *difficult* one, the one who’s to blame, the one who can’t keep a relationship going. (Gee, wonder where I got the feelings from that I wasn’t worthy of a relationship. Years of therapy told me that…but didn’t offer any solutions. But I’m starting to figure it out. Maybe that major brain fart and head injury shook some sense into me.)
Point of this post? I know who I can count on. These people—and you know who you are Lori, Jan, Jodie, Anna, Fran, Susie, Sean, Catherine—gave me hope and made me realize that Bian and I are NOT alone and that we DO have people who will be there if we need them. For the first time since last spring, I felt my heart lift up a bit. Thank you, my friends. You must be the reason we moved back. So we could meet you.