November 24, 2010

First, I have to relax and not allow the idea of family to freak me out. Family = lots of work, mess, pain, and hardship. Family freaks me out. But, that’s baggage and I know it.

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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.

Significantly,

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.

9 thoughts on “November 24, 2010”

  1. Back when I was first engaged, and my folks threatened to disown me unless things changed, when the dust settled, I resolved, good or ill, to call once a week. Even if it was to just leave a message. Even if I had to suddenly leave 2 minutes in. Once a week. Over time, that’s built a strong relationship, one you got to see this september. We’re that kind of creature. A little, regular contact works wonders.

  2. You can even make it simpler to start with. Send an email with a link: “I saw this and I thought it would make you smile.” THEN a phone call. It is simple, but if you’re more comfortable taking it slowly, do.

  3. You and I are in the same boat on many levels. I am also my father’s daughter, and for that reason, I hate picking up the phone, and basically don’t unless something is out of the ordinary. For this reason, we don’t have a close relationship, not saying that we don’t have a relationship, but we’re on a “no news is good news” sort of basis.
    The same goes for my step-mom. We’ve gotten along, but she’s never really made an effort to get to know me as an adult, or in fact take much interest in me. I think her own kids monopolize a lot of her time, and therefore a lot of my dad’s time.
    Most of the time I don’t even notice that my folks and I don’t talk much, but then I get one of those reminder letters in the mail from my grandma saying that she hasn’t heard from me in about a year, and did I forget what a phone was? Jeeez.
    I love my family, and I do want to be close with them, but it is challenging when you’ve lived for so long with a particular style of relationship.
    It’s funny, I can remember middle school when I used to spend, like 8 hours a day on the phone. Now I can’t even be bothered to call for pizza. When did I become such a hermit? Do I strike you as a hermit?


    Amanda

  4. And I have something approximating the opposite problem – I’m always trying to encourage J to be in closer contact with his family, even though they’re not really “that way.” I often have to pull myself back and realize that, yes, not every family works like mine….

  5. I am soooo bad at phone – but my family loves facebook and I am on it a lot so that is how we all keep in touch. I talk more to my siblings, nieces and nephews via facebook than I have for years of phone… And it has made us closer than any 2 monite phone call would. It’s an amazing thing…

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