Momming it up
C. and I were always close, at times so close that R, husband and father, occasionally felt shut out. This last year, that changed. The distance grew between us, and in the shock of a sudden loss, we stumbled around and frequently hurt each other. In many ways, we're learning to reconnect again. It's not easy. Sometimes she frustrates me terribly, and do I ever know that is mutual.
Here's the thing though. I've found I can not like a direction my child is taking, but be very proud of her for the way she's going about something. I can see mistakes she's making and try to guide her away from the error, but then I see how much she's learned by making the mistakes. I don't know if she would have learned so much without having made some of the whoppers she has made. (We don't lead a charming Christmas letter kind of life, but it's a beautiful one anyway.)
One huge lesson we both have learned has been one of the most painful of my life. Neither one of us told R. we loved him the day he died. I think I'll always regret that, and I've noticed that neither one of us will let the other leave or end a telephone conversation without saying, "I love you" now. Even if we were fighting just moments before. Even if the conversation was ending because the fight would have only gotten worse if we continued. That didn't happen immediately. It took some time, and it really didn't happen intentionally. It wasn't until after it had almost become routine that I realized what we had done.
I'm glad it happened. Tonight when she was leaving, it was a stop and go effort with something forgotten here inside the house. Then I had to move the car, then something else got in the way, and with every interruption, there it was. A big fat I love you. We were starting to sound like a comedy routine that a Monty Python wannabe would have written. No matter how angry, how frustrated, how irritable, cantankerous, stupid or stubborn we might be, that I love you is there. It may be how we end things, but I also feel that it's a beginning.