I've avoided Dave's phonecalls for days. I'm ridiculously stubborn. He has hurt my feelings so much lately that I've just shut down, for a while. It's very, very easy for me to do this to people ... except the two that matter most. My two boys, my sons. (I have sons!?)
Watching Rachel's Getting Married yesterday, I wept. Such a brilliant portrayal, I would be surprised if the writer of that film is not an addict. Remembering my sister Linda's wedding, when I was fresh out of rehab and my whole extended family was there and I squirmed in my white Lisa Ho dress with the silver shoes. Everybody knew my business. I was beneath everyone, and felt alternate bursts of Fuck You, Straighties! to Oh My God everyone is better than Meeeeeee.
Honoured to be bridesmaid, but I was the bad bridesmaid. A raging egomaniac with the worst inferiority complex ever. So fucking self-obsessed it was ridiculous. A few short months later I was to relapse again and my sisters and I stopped all communication, for a while. It hurt like a bitch. Simultaneously fucking up my life, yet truly had enough of being the family's scapegoat, who carried all the shame and pain. I stopped my role in the family, forcing the others to either change or resolutely remain the same.
If you'd told me back then I would have the relationship with both of my sisters I have now, I would have spat out my coffee. But I do - we do. One of the biggest gifts of recovery is my two big sisters. Our blood is thick. We see everything that happened, in each others eyes ... like Vietnam Vets we laugh and rage about it together, stuck like glue, a sense of "You were there, too, huh. You saw it and lived it." Not how children are supposed to be brought up. We were dragged up ... often, by our hair.
I talk to them on the phone, and listen to them struggle too. Always about the same thing ... parenting, the challenges that arise from trying so desperately to parent your children the exact opposite you yourself were raised. The Anger is in all three of us. I secretly think it is in me the most, but that could just be my ego talking. My sisters are wonderful mothers. They come back to the page, time and time again, always striving to be better, stronger, compassionate. We all don't want to crush our children's spirits, the way ours were crushed. We try to be good mothers. And when we fuck up, we apologise. Max always accepts my apology very gravely, in this knowing way. Like he understands the struggle. Having parents who looked through you .... were burdened by you, who hated you. Leaves a fucking cavern, that's for sure.
Max knows there was a lot amiss, in my childhood. I can't lie, he is so in tune it's breathtaking. For a few days lately it has just been Max and I, reconnecting again, for the first time in over a year. He is on school holidays - the bliss of not rushing around every morning getting him to school on time. Told me he had never seen Men in Black, so we quickly rectified that. I bought the family edition of Trivial Pursuit, with kids cards and adults cards. He has won both times. Finally, somebody to play board games with! (Dave hates board games, because I always win. Because I am smarter. Whoopsies, did I just blog that out loud??) I'm taking Max down to KFC tomorrow, beause he forlornly tells me he has never been, in his whole life.
He has had recurring dreams that an owl pecks him on the head. I look it up in my dream book and it means "death, something grave will happen. Foreboding. Enemies approaching." Freaked the shit out of me. If anything happens to my kids, I swear to God I would slit my throat rather than live without them.
I think the events of the past year have marked me even more. Maybe in a good way, maybe made me more fucked up. Who knows. I guess I struggle through life .... just like everybody else.
The other night Max was chatting away, about the difference between adults and kids.
I said "You know what, mate? I'll tell you the secret about adults."
His eyes lit up and he looked at me half smiling, half smugly, because he was about to be told a secret.
"Yes? What secret?"
"Well, the secret is .... you never actually feel like a grown up. Every single adult just feels like a kid inside."
It was like I told him who shot JFK.
"Oh my GOD MUM. Wow. So we are all the same."
"Yes my sweet baby guy. We are all the same."
He thought for a while.
"Are you going to call me your sweet baby guy when I am 37 and you are 67?"
"Yes. Yes I am."
Wow. It's like, my neck is a treetrunk.