I wonder about posting this and may very well get in trouble with one or both of my daughters for doing so, and most likely my son if he sees it. I apologize now. But, I’m posting it with hopes and prayers that perhaps, somehow, those who need to see it, will. If not, perhaps someone who has some influence with this person will see it and come help. However, in the back of my mind, I know that God knows about the problems, the reasons, and the solutions to this problem already and a solution will be had when God decides that it’s time for it to happen. So I need to just leave it alone. But I’m not because of my daughter’s wish that it could be different.
I saw a post tonight on FB made by my youngest daughter about Father’s Day. She is a loving, helpful, intelligent young lady who has a good heart, but it’s definitely a heart that been hurt many times. It was hurt again today. And there is really no reason for it to have been done other than hate, spite, bitterness, and pure meanness. What’s so bad is that the majority of those feelings are toward ME, not her. But you see, SHE is the one who is being hurt.
Divorce is painful for all of those involved, especially children. Sadly, this divorce was necessary but ended very badly. The couple involved have 3 children and now have 6 grandchildren. All of these want and deserve love and support from both parents and grandparents. After the divorce, ignoring the children started out as a way to punish me for having had the audacity to file for divorce and for taking it public. After repeated attempts by the children to somehow maintain some type of connection and those attempts being rebuffed, they decided to quit trying. After all, why purposefully ask for someone to hurt you? This lasted for a while and while it hurt, life was livable. Slowly, one of the children tried again, this time to be told that it would only be possible if the child followed HIS rules, HIS way, and on HIS time schedule. Since the child was now an adult, this child took exception to this and once again, negotiations came to a halt.
Negotiations — normally thought of as a means to solve a business or judicial problem. It’s not one that takes place between a father and child who is merely looking for love and acceptance. It should NEVER be used in this instance.
Again and again, one at a time, they would try. Again and again, one at a time, they were rebuffed. Hurt again. By a mean, hard-headed man out for revenge. Which he was extracting a piece at a time.
The kids went on with their lives. They fell in love and married. One of them moved back to her hometown where the father lived.
Eventually, the child living in the hometown reconnected with the father. I have no idea what the negotiations consisted of, and don’t want to know. And to be truthful, I was hurt. I did not understand how it had happened, but through therapy and prayer, I came to understand the importance and came to be supportive of the reconciliation. After all, I had been hurt that he ignored the children—how could I now be hurt because he was no longer doing so? A bit hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?? It took me a while, but I overcame my hurt feelings and fully support their relationship now.
Unfortunately, after 27 years, there is only that ONE reconciliation that has taken place. There is one daughter and two grandchildren who are doted upon by the grandfather and his wife. There are two children and FOUR grandchildren who are totally ignored by the grandfather and his wife. I wonder if they think about the feelings of these grandchildren. I wonder if they realize that each birth that is ignored, each graduation that is ignored, each Christmas that is ignored, each birthday that is ignored — these things hurt. And the grandchildren have done nothing to deserve it. They listen to their two cousins talk about the gifts, the fun times, the accolades they receive from their Papa and Ninny, and they realize that they deserve those things, too. But they don’t get them—because their grandfather took a vow at the divorce to always do everything possible to hurt their grandmother and that THEY are the collateral damage.
So far, their have been 22, 22, 18, and 18 birthdays ignored and not celebrated with 17 and 16 birthdays acknowledged and celebrated. There have now been 4 high school graduations ignored and not celebrated with 1 high school graduation acknowledged and celebrated. Each lack of acknowledgement and lack of celebration is deeply felt. And all because of the desire to hurt the grandmother.
I now call UNCLE. I give up. I acknowledge that you are the victor and the the hurt you wish for is complete and felt. My prayer is that you understand that your wishes have come true and that you Quit taking it out on your two children and four grandchildren. Become the type of father and grandfather for these 6 people that you are for the other 3. You can’t imagine what wonderful children you have. And you are missing the blessings from 4 Amazing grandchildren!! You may continue to hate me. You may continue to seek revenge upon me, but leave the kids and grandchildren out of it. They had nothing to do with our divorce. Period!
I look at the four grandchildren you ignore and I see funny, intelligent, caring, considerate, giving, loving, hard working, giving people. You would be so blessed to have them in your life and would get nothing but love and good times from them — if only. You don’t have to care about me in order to love them. You owe me nothing; you owe them everything. They want nothing from you but inclusion. It would take nothing from your life to love them; you don’t have to give up anything. All you have to do is to include them, love them, and receive great blessings from them. Each of them will add to your joys.
I look at the two children you ignore and see wonderful adults. They both have the hard-working traits that you taught to them. They have worked hard, they have been wonderful parents, they have loved fiercely and deeply. One has served his country, retiring as a LTC from a branch of service that you, too, served in. I cannot fathom how that does not make you proud. To know them would give you countless opportunities to brag, to make others believe that you have done a good job in raising your children. You don’t have to care about me in order to love them. You owe me nothing; you owe them everything. They want nothing from you but inclusion. It would take nothing from your life to love them; you don’t have to give up anything. All you have to do is to include them, love the them, and receive great blessings from them. Each of them will add to your joys.
It’s easy. Just do it.
And if you have not got the courage to say “I’m sorry and I’d like to get to know you,” to your son and daughter and your four grandchildren, then I pretty much agree with the below statement from your daughter — “I hope your day sucked.”
Pray for me, pray for my children, and pray for my grandchildren. Shoot, pray for my ex and his wife. Some of you know who I am and who I am talking about. Some of you may understand my story and some of you will think that none of it is true. I can’t do anything about that and that’s fine. For my grandchildren’s sake, I hope that the prayers reach his heart. All I wish for is love and recognition for my amazing children and grandchildren.
This is my daughter’s original post. ——
I got to spend the day with my wonderful husband and his family which included Papa and several brothers, nephews, and brother & son-in-laws who are all GREAT fathers.
I just wish I could have spent the day with my dad. It’s such a shame he is not willing to be part of our lives (well, most of ours anyway).
Happy Father’s Day to all the men who stand up and care for their children and grandchildren. The rest of you – I hope your day sucked.
It’s been 52 years now since I whispered in your ear for the first time. That whisper was, “Happy Birth Day, sweet little boy”.
On October 5th of each of the last 51 years, I have whispered a short prayer in my heart.
On this 52nd year, I again whisper the following in my heart:
Happy Birthday, Allen Lee.
I pray that you are healthy.
I pray that you are happy.
I pray that you are safe.
I pray that you Believe.
I pray that you are loved.
I pray that you love.
Happy Birthday, Allen Lee.
My thoughts are rambling tonight as I think about it being your birthday. I pray that you are enjoying the day. I pray that you are enjoying your life. I pray that you are happy. I pray that you are healthy. I pray that God is part of your life. I pray that you have been blessed with a wonderful family. My biggest prayer is that you have people who love you. It is so very important to be loved.
I wonder if you ever think of me. If so, I pray that your thoughts do not cause you pain. I wonder what questions you have for me, if any. I pray that God has filled your heart with Grace and that you are confident that giving you up for adoption was an act of love on my part. I pray that one day I will get to meet you and that I can tell you about the love that I’ve always had for you. I pray that one day I can tell you about the 5 amazing days that I got to spend with you!
But, enough of that! It’s your birthday! Go eat some cake and blow out your candles. Feel the love today. It’s always there.
I’m got up this morning already down. I woke up during the night with an awful, awful headache, finally gave up and got out of bed. Sat around in a stupor for a while and then I forgot what today was and opened Facebook to a frillion Father’s Day wishes and tributes to all the good fathers out there and dove even deeper into that dreaded hole. I always feel this way on Father’s Day. I search my heart and try to find a reason to post my own tribute to my father and no matter how hard I try, there just is no reason that I can find. And I always feel guilty for not being able to find a reason.
As I sat here scrolling through the posts, I turned on iTunes and the first song that came up was “A Better Man” by Little Big Town. While that song is a love song, I find much of it relates to my feelings about my father. Oh, how I wish he had been a better man. I wish he had been a man who had not had an addiction to alcohol. I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally. I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault. I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me. But, he wasn’t that man.
And then, my thoughts turn to my ex. Although I know that this is a dangerous subject to breach, my thoughts go there anyway. Oh, how I wish he had been a better man. I wish he had been a man who had had the ability to love unconditionally. I wish he had been a man who had not had the propensity to hit and yell and demean and make me feel as though everything had been my fault. I wish he had been a man who had realized that all I wanted out of life was for him to love me and love all of our children and all of our grandchildren. But, he wasn’t that man.
I know I’m probably better off on my own
Than loving a man who
Didn’t know what he had when he had it
And I see the permanent damage you did to me
Never again, I just
Wish I could forget when it was magicI wish it wasn’t 4 AM, standing in the mirror
Saying to myself, you know you had to do it
I know, the bravest thing I ever did was Run Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
A better man — I know I’m probably better off all alone
Than needing a man who could
Change his mind at any given minute
And it’s always on your terms
I’m hanging on every careless word
Hoping it might turn sweet again
Like it was in the beginningI hold onto this pride because these days it’s all I have
And I gave to you my best and we both know you can’t say that
You can’t say that
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again
And I just miss you when I just wish you were a better man
And I know why we had to say goodbye like the back of my hand
And I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man
And I wish these things knowing full well that I should have been a better daughter and a better wife. I was far from perfect in both instances. My thoughts in both instances had been angry, debilitating thoughts which became angry, debilitating actions. I wanted so much out of both relationships and worked very hard for many years to make those things come true, but always knew in the back of my mind that both were toxic and finally gave up. Maybe I should have fought harder in both instances. Maybe I was wrong for giving up on each. But, maybe I was right in giving up. Maybe I was right in running from both.
So, for my father and for my ex — Since I know that there is nothing I could have done to have made either of you better men, I must work on making myself a better woman — a woman who always loves unconditionally, a woman who always speaks with love in her tone and in her heart, a woman who never purposefully tries to hurt anyone, a woman who always makes sure that you know how much I love you. If I can do that, I will be a better woman. Maybe then, it won’t matter that neither of you were better men.
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS: I despise Father’s Day.
TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER: Yuk. Hurry up and get here tomorrow.
Next Friday night, June 2, 2017, Putnam County High School Class of 1967 will be holding its 50th Reunion. From a class of 58, there were 6 classmates we could not find and 11 classmates who have passed away. We are scheduled to have 73 people — classmates and spouses or significant others — in attendance. And this “scares me to death”.
You see, while I attended school with these classmates beginning in grade 1 when we moved to Eatonton through grade 11 and have memories and experiences with them throughout each of the years, I was not there for my senior year, nor for graduation. I had left Eatonton at the end of my junior year. I remember the night that I should have graduated — I remember wishing I was there with my classmates — and I remember wondering how many of them thought about the fact that I was not there. And I continued to wonder that for four decades — did they even realize I had not been there?
I’ve spoken of my dear friend, Dennis, before. I remember the day that we had met for lunch and sat at a table outside the restaurant, watching life go on in Eatonton, for hours. We reminisced about life in Eatonton when we were kids and then as teenagers. We had talked about the people who had owned businesses and who had been married to whom, who had divorced, and who had fooled around on their spouses as well as we could remember. I remember asking him that day if he had even missed me during 66-67. Did he realize that I was not at school for our senior year? Did he wonder where I was? And, bless his heart, true to Dennis, he was brutally honest with me and said, “No, Betty. I was too busy living the life of a teenage boy to recognize that you were not there.” (I cleaned that up a bit from the actual words that he said to me.) In a way, I was devastated, but then, it was the answer I had expected.
Since moving back to Eatonton, I had spoken to many people who had never realized that I had not been there for my senior year. And I had spent decades believing or hoping that, at least to my classmates, I had been missed. I do remember that one classmate, Brenda, had told me when we had reconnected a few years ago, that at the beginning of our senior year, she had asked several people where I was and nobody could or would give her an answer. She said that she had even asked one of our teachers — several times — where Betty was. She said that she was finally told by that teacher to stop asking and to let the fact that I was not there drop. So, life without Betty in the class went on. As it should have. The fact that I was not there was of utmost importance to me, but was really no big deal to my classmates. And I’m not saying that in a critical way — it was as life should have been. Students finishing up high school are all about themselves and their futures. If someone suddenly is not there, they just aren’t there. It’s not going to change the way they live. But it had certainly changed the way I lived.
Things had been beyond bad at home between Dad and me. They had reached a point where he no longer allowed me to live there and I was “taken” to Atlanta to live. Upon checking my school records, it was determined that in order to graduate, I only needed a senior English class and a geography class, so I took those two classes and graduated on December 16, 1966 from an Atlanta high school. It certainly was not the type of graduation that I had always dreamed of — they mailed me my diploma. But, I did have a high school diploma and I was out of my house. I was not being abused any longer. And I did not have to fight with my dad every day. That was a good thing. But, it was not the life I was supposed to live. It was not the life that I had deserved to live. I was “allowed” to come to Eatonton for Christmas, but received the silent treatment from Dad the whole time I was there. Shortly after the beginning of January, I began attending Massey Business College in Atlanta and actually enjoyed my life, living in a dorm right off 14th Street. When leaving the dorm, all we saw were the long-haired hippies and I was fascinated by them. I met and made new friends, but still missed my friends from Eatonton. I asked if I could come home and attend my classmates’ graduation service, but was told no by dad and of course he had to add that “Nobody in Eatonton wants you here. Stay in Atlanta.” So, I did. The following September, I moved to Valdosta, Georgia, and began attending Valdosta State College. And here is where things went wrong again. (More to come on this aspect at a later date.)
A couple of years after moving back to Eatonton in 2010, I attended a class reunion and was petrified. I had not seen the majority of these classmates since I left in 1966 and I had no idea as to how I would be welcomed, or, if I would be welcomed at all. But, it was a good night and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone. Five years ago, I attended another reunion and we had a blast. And now, for our 50th! What I haven’t figured out yet is how I pretty much came to be in charge of planning this, seeing as how I may have attended school with these folks for 11 years, but, in reality, I did not graduate with them. I am not a graduate of the Class of ’67, yet I was in charge of planning it. Somehow, this just doesn’t make sense. But, it’s done. We are ready for all 73 people to invade Joe and Melody’s on Friday night. All the planning that can be planned has been planned and I am not planning to plan anything else. (I just thought that sentence kind of summed up how drained I am right now. LOL) We have the food arranged; we have the name tags made; we have the class booklets finished and printed; we have a photographer coming; we have the frames done for use when we take pictures; we have the Memorial table items ready; I HOPE we have the Memorabilia tablescape ready; and I hope we have the carpooling arranged. All that is left to do is to show up and have fun.
And, that, my blogging friends, is why I am filled with anxiety. Although at the two reunions I have attended, everyone has been wonderful. But, at this reunion, it is going to be evident that I did not graduate. We have name tags with everyone’s senior picture on them; each of the gals are in their senior drapes and the guys are in suits. But, not me. It is evident when viewing my picture that I am NOT in a senior drape. I worry that there will be questions and whispers and that they will remember that I am not actually a member of the Class of ’67. All those old fears are coming back and the memories as to WHY I’m not in a senior drape are flooding my mind. I’m trying to think that it doesn’t really matter, that being there for 11 years ought to be enough to count. I’m going to take that leap of faith that everyone speaks about and just GO and have FUN and not WORRY. Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do. Right, Betty. You just keep on thinking that. Anyway, by this time next week, it will be a done deal. I will most likely find out that I have worried for no reason and that all my trepidation was unwarranted. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the rest of the week, just in case.
I’ll let you know how things went.
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS: I have dreaded speaking about this period in my life. There is so much more to the story, but so far, I am not brave enough to talk about the rest. The goal when I started this blog was to be able to be open and honest and real about all of the things in my life that have haunted me for so many years. Since this period of time is one of the “biggies”, it’s stressful. My hopes are that at some point, I will be able to speak the truth. Not that what I’ve written today is not the truth. It is. It’s just that it’s such a small portion. So much is left out.
TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER: I still need to figure out how to do this sleeping thing. I’m trying to eliminate the need for sleeping pills, but without them, I just flat don’t sleep. Period. But, with them, I seem to sleep for 12 hours. It’s either no sleep or 12 hours of sleep. It is just so hard to plan things that take place in the mornings. I missed church again this morning. Darn it.
I was able to spend a good part of yesterday with my baby sister, Karen, known to me as KaKa. It’s been a while since we spent a lot of time with each other and I don’t like that. I promise to do better. Anyway, she had to go out to my local hospital for some tests and I met her there. When she was finished, we decided to go out to the lake for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. We laughed for a while about what I was supposed to do with the lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream that they had put in a really neat little circle in the middle of my already-cut Quesadillas (I never know what you are supposed to do with that – it’s not a salad and you can’t open the Quesadillas up to put it in them, it’s hard to just pile it on top of the individual slices so, do you just eat it? I never know how to treat that pile of stuff so I usually just move it around a bit so the server will think that I ate it.). I know this is far from being politically correct, but I told KaKa I needed to watch one of the Mexicans who worked there eat some so I would understand what to do with it. After KaKa “ate at” her Chimichangas, we just sat and talked — mostly about our childhoods.
KaKa is eight years younger than I am and, unfortunately, she doesn’t remember a lot of her childhood. I left home at the end of my junior year when I was only sixteen which means she was eight and was living an entirely different life than I was living. She was still a kid, enjoying life and playing with her friends, while I was deep in a raging battle with my father. I learned that she really had no clue what was going on with us, and for that I am glad. In a way. But, of course, I also wish that she could remember the terrible battles in order to validate my memories and my feelings. For some reason, that validation is still important to me. I was told so many times by Dad that I didn’t know what I was talking about so I sometimes wonder if he was right. Did all that really happen to me? Why did I let it happen? Why did he let it happen? Or, more importantly, why did he make it happen? The more I think about those times, the more confused I become.
The most important thing that happened at that lunch was that KaKa did not judge me. She just listened to me. And that was what I needed. In looking at our lunch and the way KaKa just listened, I got a bit of deja-vu. You see, early yesterday morning, my dear friend, Deanna, posted a poem on Facebook about listening and its importance. I’m sure you’ve probably read it before, but it’s worth reading again. Listening is something that is extremely important to all, but is vital to someone filled with doubt, guilt, and with that terrible thing called self-condemnation.
“When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something
to solve my problem, you have failed me,
strange as that may seem.
All I ask is that you listen.
Don’t talk or do – just hear me.
Advice is cheap – 20 cents will get you both
Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself; I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can
and need to do for myself,
you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact
that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational,
then I can stop trying to convince you
and get about this business of understanding
what’s behind this irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious
and I don’t need advice.
Irrational feelings make sense
when we understand what’s behind them.
Perhaps that’s why prayer works sometimes
for some people, because God is mute
and He doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.
God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.
So please listen, and just hear me.
And if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn,
and I will listen to you.”
Isn’t that what it’s all about? Listening to others. Not telling them what to do. Not telling them how to feel. Not fixing their problems. Just be there. Listen to what they say. Love them no matter how they feel or no matter what they say. Just listen.
Kaka did an excellent job yesterday of just listening. Thank you, little sister, for listening to me. I love you.
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY THOUGHTS: The lunch with KaKa was just what I needed. And the fact that Deanna had posted that poem that very morning was another one of those “signs” that remind me I’m on the right track.
TODAY’S FEELINGS BAROMETER: I’m tired. Go figure. That’s nothing new. Tired, but optimistic. Looking forward to church tomorrow and to our local Memorial Day service on Monday. A dear, dear friend of mine will be making an address and I’m so very proud of him. We have many things to be thankful for in our country, and our military is right up there near the very top of my list. Monday will be a day for us to remember those who gave their all. May they Rest in Peace as we salute their service.