A turning point

A quote from Veronika Decides to Die (no it’s not as depressing as it sounds, really):

“Why do certain people try to go against the natural order of things which is to fight for survival whatever happens?”

“That’s why I was crying,” said Veronika. “When I took the pills, I wanted to kill someone I hated. I didn’t know that other Veronikas existed inside me, Veronikas that I could love”.

“What makes a person hate themselves?”

“Cowardice, perhaps. Or the eternal fear of being wrong, of not doing what others expect.”

********

Next week is a monumental week.

Not simply because I turn 40.  In all actuality, I could really care less about the number.   In all actuality, I could care less about birthdays.

No, next week is going to be monumental because it’s when I go see my dad.  I haven’t seen him since I was 11.

I know my dad loves me.  We’ve had a great 10 year phone relationship.  And it seems just like yesterday when I nervously called him up on Father’s Day, 2000, stomach knotted and feeling ill, fearful he was going to reject me, fearful that he wasn’t the father I so desperately longed for.

Wonderfully, he didn’t reject me, but welcomed me with an open heart.

My two older sisters, never re-gained the closeness my dad, my stepmother and I have.  I know this pains them greatly.  It saddens me too.  It’s just one more thing that separates me from my siblings.  They don’t understand why my relationship to my father is important to me.  I don’t understand why a relationship with him is NOT important to them.

He called me every day for about a week when I miscarried before my first child, just to make sure I was okay.  He’s spoken to my husband on a few occasions, and loves him for taking care of his “baby girl”.  He’s said other kind and supportive things to me over the years.  He is amazed with his three grand-daughters.   I must admit, they are beautiful and smart.  I can hardly believe they are mine sometimes.

I also regained something vitally important too.  A loving relationship with a mother-figure.  Even though my stepmother could not have her own children, she was the honorary mother of children close to her.  She did what she could in the time she had with us during our visitations with them, making us feel loved and cared for, and even trying to teach us a little about make-up and other girly things…stuff my own mother failed to teach us.

In the past ten years, she’s spent hours on the phone with me, listening to me, trying to help me re-construct past events, trying to give me back my childhood memories…at least those with them.

I cherish those 2 hour phone calls we shared.

I’ve often wished she was my mother, instead of the mother I did get.

********

We are going to Colorado by train.

I originally thought it was better than flying for the simple fact that I lost my nerve to fly after I had a rocky flight back from Reno, Nevada, after a work conference for my forensics gig.   That was 10 years ago, too.

And taking those same 10 years and looking through the lens of my former identity, that seems like a lifetime ago already.

Now, I know that I’m going to relish the 18 hour train ride for another reason.  I’ll have plenty of time to mentally prepare to meet my dad and my wonderful stepmother.  Maybe I’ll do some writing…or reading…or resting.  Or simply be present with my husband and daughters as we play games to pass the time or watch the countryside roll by.

I’m hoping I’ll discover some pithy insights about myself when I see my dad.  Or find some sort of resolution to unfinished business.  Or finally have some things make sense.

********

I recently read “Self-flagellation is optional”.

I’ve managed to turn it into an art form.

It’s time to find the other Caseys inside me that I could love.

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4 Responses to A turning point

  1. Papa T says:

    Wow.

    So much ‘stuff’.

    Let me just say that my empathy, concern, and confidence in your soul are ‘right there’ with you all. Learning and growing are inherently challenging.

    Breathe.

    Embrace what you will.

    Peace.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yes, breathing is good.

    I’ll let you know how the Rocky Mountain air is for breathing after this Midwestern air.

    Learning and growing are inherently challenging.

    Yeah that.

    Let me just say that my empathy, concern, and confidence in your soul are ‘right there’ with you all.

    Thanks. You’re a great friend.

  3. Jen says:

    It’s been a great while since I popped in to read your blog and I was dumbfounded to read about what you are going through, with the discovery that at least one of your parents lied to you about the cause of their divorce, the discovery that your mom is JUST LIKE my mom (manipulative, guilt-driven and guilt-inflicting, etc.), that you are turning 40, that you are conflicted deeply about the deep intellectual needs you have in balance with your family’s needs and the love and nurturing you give them, and thus and so on.

    I just turned 45, and finally emotionally divorced my mom because of these behaviors. I have a wonderful relationship with my stepmom, and my dad (insofar as he allows it as he is kinda messed up anyway, and I do not doubt that he loves me) due to my husband’s insistence that I seek it out.

    I crave intellectual stimulation (mostly through more traditionally creative outlets of classical music performance, as well as reading and thoughtful discussion with other adults), but don’t get it so much as I need it.

    I just want to say that “normal” is something I’ve never attained completely. I understand only all too well what you are seeking, and I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten there myself.

    Should you wish to discuss anything I’ve written/shared with you in this comment, you have my email address. I am certainly willing to invest effort into a new friendship should you feel the need. If you don’t, I understand that, too. I find your self-examination to be very thoughtful.

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Jen –

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment…and yes, it does feel good to know I have a potential new friend, who knows what it’s like to have a confusing and painful upbringing.

    Yes, the repercussions are lasting, but I am finding healing and hope through this period of self-examination. Today (Tuesday) is my birthday, and we are in Colorado now, as we speak, visiting with my dad and step-mother.

    The best part of all, my daughters warmed up to him and my step-mother. I was a little nervous, knowing they are usually slow to warm up (and sometimes very slow to warm up). But within 10 minutes, they were giggling.

    It’s been a great thing to see them with my dad and stepmother.

    Thanks for commenting, and I’ll drop you a line when we return from our trip.

    Casey

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