Sometimes, the best way to fix something is to just start doing it right instead of continuing to do it wrong. No big epiphany or come to Jesus or confrontation or tearful apology needed. Sometimes the way to shift gears from bad to good is simply to start doing the good thing instead. If there’s fall-out later, deal with it then.
I was raised by an alcoholic so the concept of making amends is ingrained. The first thing I think is, “Who do I need to apologize to?” My inclination is to make a production of things, which is also part and parcel of how I was raised. The reality is that it’s not always necessary. The reality is that it’s sometimes better not to.
This is my round-about way of saying that I’ve been a crappy step-mother. Not mean. Not unfriendly. Just off-putting. How? By being distant. I realized yesterday that it’s harder for Ron to have a close relationship with his kids when I’m not part of the process. I didn’t understand that before and it’s not something I set out to do but I pull him in one direction and he has to pull himself in another. I don’t discourage their contact – far from it – but I don’t help him make it happen either.
Why? Because it’s not my natural bent. My mother was off-putting and distant and so am I. I am my mother’s daughter.
I am family material, however. First, I have to relax and not allow it to freak me out. Family = lots of work, mess, pain, and hardship. Family freaks me out. But, that’s baggage and I know it.
Hang on, I’ve got to stop hyperventilating. Yeah… okay. I’m okay. Whew.
Okay, so it’s going to freak me out, but I’m strong. I can do this. Why? Oh, who the hell knows why. I just want to. Maybe I love his kids, too.
Oh, shut up.
I am not mommy material but I am family material. And, I’m sorry that I suck at it but I can do better. Oh, and to get back to my original point, when I realized yesterday that how I’ve been acting isn’t helping, my inclination was to apologize to everyone. But, I restrained myself. I tried just being better. And, it was good.
My other inclination, besides apologizing, is to create some big event to use as an excuse to bring us together, but that’s not necessary. All I have to do is pick up the phone every once in a while.
That can’t be right. It’s not nearly complicated enough. It’s not nearly as fraught with peril and it should be.
Oh shut up.
Susan Scot Fry
Update… First I have to figure out whether or not I even have phone numbers. Then, I have to be ready to get disconnected lines and to leave lots of messages. Add a dash of loneliness and frustration.
Frankly, it’s easier to not want to make contact. It’s an effort. I trust my intuition, though. I believe it will be worth it.