People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

Eyes and Hearts

I want to crawl into bed and read, but my eyes won’t cooperate. After hour number seventeen dozen gazillion of crying, they will only focus well enough to keep me from smacking my head into the walls when I move around the house.

Eyes are stupid. It’s a good thing I can adjust the font size on my computer.

Hearts are stupid, too, what with their unwillingness to stop breaking. I mean seriously, e-fucking-nough with the relentless breaking and breaking and breaking. I’m all busted up and I’m waving my white flag, so howzabout we take a nice, long rest?

Also stupid? Friedrich Nietzsche and his bullshit about getting stronger because of things that don’t kill me. If Freddy was here now I would tell him to bite me.

I want to tell the stories. I want to sit here in my quiet house, staring at the computer screen that I can’t really see, and spill it. Tell it all; the secrets, the lies, the manipulations. I want to make noise. I want to declare, to share my story, to say the truth that is mine and mine alone.

The things about which I have kept silent to protect him or her or them could fill a stadium.

I spent the day indulging in revenge fantasies. I Googled “how to ruin someone’s life” and made a plan. I would never carry out that plan, any more than I will sit here and spill everything. As painful as waking up tomorrow with my grief will be, I at least won’t be the vindictive bitch that I am in my fantasies.

Except that, somehow, I still play the villain in this story. I’m like one of those actors who gets typecast and can never shake loose of an old role.

Somehow, strangely, the fantasies make me feel better. I know how to ruin a life, to make things oh-so-awful, and I choose not to do so. There is a dark power in that. It’s the only power I have right now, and I’ll take it. I’ll keep it close to my heart, the action I didn’t take, the thing that puts the lie to it all – the lies that say I am the one who ruined everything; the person who tore it all apart; the one who will stop at nothing to hurt as many people as possible.

I claim my part, the very real mistakes I have made, the ways I have been an inadequate and at times destructive sister, daughter, mother, friend, human being.

I claim my part and no more. I made my mistakes. Just mine and no one else’s.

I’m burning my costume. I’m done playing this role; finished being paralyzed by my guilt. I’m fallible, and I love my kids with my whole heart.

When we talk about love for our kids, we use expressions like, “I would take a bullet for her,” or “I’d jump in front of a moving train for him!” And of course we would; no question, no hesitation, I would protect my kids from a grizzly bear.

The grand gesture, though, is meaningless against the weaving together of days, months, and years. No grand gesture can compare to the daily tasks of self-management that parenting requires; the willingness to make a meal instead of have another cup of coffee; the offer to help with homework when the couch beckons; the deep breaths when a sassy child drives his parent to the brink; the guilt when the deep breaths don’t work and there is yelling.

Most days, those things are part of life, the joy of being with our children far outweighing the many small annoyances. Some days, though, parenting seems harder than wrestling tigers in the living room.

I would tackle any wild animal and let it pick my bones clean in favor of this constant, grinding, relentless grief.

Salt in the wound, though, is hearing (often, and loudly) that I have gotten exactly what I deserve; that I am a terrible mother and my children were right to reject me.

I will heal. I will learn to live with this, and I will find a way to be OK no matter what kind of relationships Jacob and Abbie choose to have with me, even if one or both choose no relationship at all. I’ll learn to let other people (including my kids) think what they want of me and not let it impact my feelings about myself.* Eventually, I’ll be OK because I’m a bad ass like that.

For now, though, it hurts like a motherfucker. It hurts physically, like someone threw a bag of bowling balls at me. Brian buys tissue in a giant case at Costo and stacks boxes on the shelf next to my side of the bed. Every unanswered text, every unreturned phone call, every tiff is an opportunity for the grief to surge forward and fill the world.

“…[A] parent’s ongoing feelings of sadness, regret, abandonment, guilt, and worry are some of the most burdensome, disorienting, unshakeable feelings that an adult can encounter.”**

Yeah, that sounds about right to me.

Their birthdays are this week. Abbie turned 15 on Saturday and Jacob will be 17 on Friday. I can’t stop wishing we could turn back the calendar a few years and try again.

Shit in one hand and wish in the other, right?

*OK, so I’m never going to totally learn that one, but I’ll get closer. Or further away. Or some damn thing. You know what I mean.

*Joshua Coleman, When Parents Hurt

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20 comments to Eyes and Hearts

  • “…parenting seems harder than wrestling tigers in the living room” I couldn’t agree more. It really is the hardest job in the universe. I am so sorry yours now comes without the heaping does of daily joy and satisfaction that makes it bearable.

    You know that we all know there is no universe in which you are a terrible mother. A human one, yes, as are we all, but your love and concern for your children shines through in every sentence you write.

    Birthday times can be so painful when there is loss and separation. (Thank goodness for Kleenex by the case.) My heart aches for you. Missing my father is hard enough, I can barely imagine missing my children.

    Love to you.
    Squashedmom recently posted..I Fear I Make a Terrible Guest

  • All I can do is thinking loving thoughts in your direction.

    So I am doing that.

    Big, giant, fluffy, soft thoughts that you can wrap around your for a few seconds of respite.

    Oh, and they’re purple and the smell like gardenias.
    Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points recently posted..Torment

  • AmyLynn

    Adrienne……I feel terrible for all you are suffering. I really wish I had words of wisdom.

    But I only have words, very little wisdom.

    Whatever gets you through, do it.

    I hope writing helps.

    Your emotion comes across so very raw that it brings up for me the times I had huge overwhelming pain.

    You are in my thoughts.

  • Oh friend.

    I don’t want to be reading this. Just as I know you don’t want to have to be writing this. I just don’t want this to be. I don’t want this for you. I know you are not this person that others are making you out to be. I want to come over with kleenex and treats. I want to have coffee and let this tumble out of you…with your voice to a friend.

    I want to hold your hand.

    I want to make it better.

    And it kills me that I can’t.

    So all I can do is pray for you…continue to.

    love you.
    Katie recently posted..Top Ten Tuesdays- Sluiter Nation Fix-ups

  • Heavy sighs that you are hurting, babe.

    Nothing I can say to make this better.

  • I wish I were there to just listen to you.

    I read every word of your post, know that I heard you, and listened from over here.

  • Bianca

    Adrienne, I am so sorry for all that you are going through right now. I wish I had the right words to give you peace and solace…..But all I’ve got is to tell you to just hang on. Hang in there, because in time this will be nothing but a painful memory. I am a child of divorce whose mother ended up with custody, and she took every opportunity to lie her face off about my Dad, and how horrible he was and didn’t love my sister and I. And as a child, I believed her. As a grown woman I reached out to my Dad, got to know him for who he really was, and forged an awesome, close relationship with him. When he passed away suddenly last year, I KNEW how much he loved me and always had, and that he had done his best with what he had.
    I pray that someday soon the veil will fall from your children’s eyes too, and you will have an awesome, uncomplicated relationship with them.

  • all i can say is thank you…
    for allowing us into your pain.
    i know that is incredibly difficult and frightening and painful in & of itself.

    thoughts & prayers with you.

    hoping specifically for one, small glimmer of hope in the coming week.
    Grace @ Arms Wide Open recently posted..wordless wednesday- kindred

  • I’m so sorry you’re suffering.
    Heather recently posted..Princess Hoppy- genius extraordinaire

  • Thinking of you with love and deepest empathy, Adrienne.

    As much as suffering is a part of life, there are times when I think “this has to be enough. Surely there doesn’t need to be more.” If there was any thing that I could do to give you some peace and relief I would gladly do it.
    Barnmaven recently posted..Glee

  • Andi

    We don’t know each other, but I just wanted to say I’m so sorry for what you’re going through.

  • People can suck it.

    Okay, my helpfulness seems to suck it as well.

    How about a hug? Or a cup of hot tea?
    Alex@LateEnough recently posted..Obnoxious Indifference

  • I have been where you are. My sister and I planned elaborate ways for the ex to die a slow and painful death. And that’s all they ever were…plans, but they gave me some power over my feelings of anger, betrayal, heart-break.

    And I have felt the physical breaking of my heart, the bone-crushing agony, when a child rejects you because of “what you have done,” “how you have deserted them,” what lies other assholes tell them about you.

    I think I’ve said it before, but I’m gonna say it again…just keep on loving them whether they accept it or not. Then when all is said and done you will know, KNOW, that you did all you could and it was your very best.

    As for what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

    Fuck that…sometimes it’s okay to feel like you just wanna die. Just don’t really die.

    Feeling for you…praying for you…sending love…
    cathy recently posted..I am Stuck on Band-aids

  • Shawna (momofbug)

    “hearing (often, and loudly) that I have gotten exactly what I deserve; that I am a terrible mother and my children were right to reject me.”
    Fuck them! Those people who say that to you should walk a day in your shoes. You did not choose for Carter to be sick, what you did choose, and do again every fucking single day, is to take care of him the best you can.
    I know the pain of having kids who live in a hate-machine. Having to share them with a parent who is still living 16 years in the past, still hating, never moving on with their own life and never letting the kids move on.
    Bianca’s comment helps though, as many times as I tell myself that I’ll get them back when they are adults I still have to hold my breath and hope.
    Adrienne, you are not alone. We are here. Along the inter-webs we care and we listen. We’ll get through it together.
    Love and Martinis (and big fuzzy hugs)

  • Oh, my heart feels heavy for you. Not that I, or anyone, can actually take part of this burden for you. Sending you positive thoughts.
    The Sweetest recently posted..Butternut Squash Risotto With Sausage

  • Brooke

    Adrienne, I read this post while listening to Mr. Mister’s “Kyrie Eleison,” which may be a cheesy pop rock remnant to some, but which never fails to make me cry.

    I pray mercy for you, girl. Mercy and healing. Sooner than later.

    *~b

  • I’m so sorry. I cannot imagine the angst, the heartache.
    Kristy recently posted..Are You Cut Out to be a Mom

  • Jen

    I can only hope that writing about your pain gives you a little relief. It is clear that your readers are all here for you, doing what little we can from across the blogosphere.
    Jen recently posted..The Faint Light At the End of the Tunnel

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