Monday, May 02, 2011

As Terrance and I make attempts to renegotiate patterns that we have taken 20 years to carve into one another, I often stop to just wonder how the hell we got here.

I am immediately defensive when he talks to me about Emily. Partly from my own shit about being a Mom, and if I am doing it right - But Partly because I don't interpret his Tone well.  Since I assume that any discussion is going to fundamentally come down to why I am doing something wrong, I immediately throw up the shields and prepare myself for battle.

And after a day in which I snapped at Emily more times than I care to admit and finally just walked out of the house and sat on the back porch for while after she dumped her beverage all over my night stand, my mother credentials don't feel very worthy.

It is a bizarre thing to look at a person with whom you have created a child, with whom you have lived for so long and think: "I have no fucking idea what you are thinking".

This happens far more often that I would like.

The first perceived threat came after Em had attempted to paint the gnomes.

Even writing this sentence feels utterly ridiculous.

In the course of this, she lost her ever loving mind and painted the gnomes as if they were items from a bad acid trip. Sloppy, dripping paint of every color, grey blue faces as if they had been dredged from ye olde Thames, I yelled at her that it looked like Three year olds with no sense of color had painted my gnomes.

I was angry. I was irritated that she had done something so unnecessary to the gnomes, that it was perfectly fine for her to sloppily splash paint over something that, while small, meant something to me.

Terrance took this time to tell me about some article he had read about the result of over-praising children and how he felt that we do this to Emily.

Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

I stared at him and finally said, "Yeah. I am familiar with the concept. I have the books on which the original information is based. Do you want to read the source material?  Because I have it. And No, I absolutely do not think we over praise her. I just think she was being an asshole."

He did not agree. We parted.

Later that evening, during our new "together" time in which we watch a minimum of an hour of TV ( chosen by one partner in turn and no complaining allowed about the choice) together with no computers/internet, he started to fuss.

"What if...What if we have to move in two years, and this will disrupt Emilys school, and then she will have been to three different schools already and don't you know Dawn she has a hard time with change..."

I feel helpless in this.

And attacked.  Blamed, as if it is my fault I haven't finished my degree and found a job so that our daughter could have a more stable life.  As if it is my fault that I am not being interviewed for the professor positions for which I apply - which is already enough of an ego blow that I have a good cry with every "There were many outstanding applicants of which you were one...BUT we didn't even want to interview you" letter I get.

That I finally just said "Listen, I could take a job for which I am WAY overqualified, but it would be a job if that is what you want. We could just move back to the US and I would take a job as a Teacher at a child care and Bam. It's done. "

And this is all true, but it makes me angry and ashamed to even say it, as if I am too good for just be a child care teacher any more but with three degrees what can I do if I am not being let into the club?

Because Yes. I know how hard change is for Emily. She has inherited that trait from me, the woman for whom moving here helped to kick off a manic depressive episode.  I resist change so hard, it engraves itself into my body as the mountain moves to me.

So finally I just say "What. What do you want. Are you saying this because you want me to help you find a solution? Or are you just talking?"

"Just thinking out loud. I will tell you when I find a solution."

"Wait a second. No, No, No. You don't find a solution. WE find a solution, because when YOU find a solution, you just tells us what to do regardless of what we think. So No. WE find a solution."

He says nothing.

We were always so pleased with ourselves as a young couple, the way we didn't need each other. The way we walked side by side, without leaning on each other.

Twenty years later, I find that our separateness has not always served us so well, leaving us on opposite sides of the gully unable to translate each other.

2 Baleful Regards:

Mignon said...

I would write a parallel to this post if I had the forum. My analogy is that we are side-by-side mount climbers, tethered together by a too-long rope. Neither of us can tell if the other is getting too much ahead or behind until it's too late.

I always thought of separateness as independence, but now I don't.

Dawn said...

That is a Perfect analogy Mignon.

And exactly how I often feel.

And it is a fucking hard thing to try to reverse after this long.

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