Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deep Impact

Fair warning: Long winded vent following.

What the above has to do with this post...I dunno. Well...actually...two lines stuck in my head: "Others have excuses, I have my reasons why."
Story time, boys and girls.

When I was young(er), I was sent to boarding school. It was in New Hampshire. I was there for four years, through eighth-ish grade, the last level the school had. I say "ish" because the school didn't use the traditional grading system, and I was actually educated beyond eighth when I left, but the public school I was to attend when I moved put me in ninth based on age.

While at the school, certain things took on greater importance to me than they'd had before.

Things like mail - a letter was gold, a package sent a kid over the moon. I've recently learned that it's not unlike that for someone in prison; it's a connection to the outside world, proof that someone, anyone, still knows you exist...and more, that they care. I still have a few of the letters I received while at HES (the school).

Phone calls were good, too - once a week, we could receive phone calls from family, and we waited for those calls like hyenas waiting for a crippled gazelle to finally stumble and fall. The phone would ting and heads would pop out of rooms, a sort of prairie dog effect. Again, it was a connection, a reminder that we had families who loved us.

Visits were best of all. At any time, family could arrange to come visit, although weekends were the usual and most popular visitation time. I looked forward to visits from my family, although they were few and far between - Mum lived here in Redneck Central, I was at school in Nude Hamster, Dad lived on The Island and my grandmother was busy doing...umm...grandmother things. Mum wrote regularly, my grandmother came up once in a while, and Dad...well...

One Thursday, Dad called. It wasn't usual, and I was delighted to hear from him. We talked for a bit, and he told me he was coming for a visit.

I looked forward to that visit for weeks. When the houseparents made special weekend plans, I opted out because my father was coming to visit, and how could I go do...whatever? Plans were made, and I awaited his visit with growing excitement. From today's perspective, visits would have been boring - maybe go out for lunch, maybe hang out and talk for a while, maybe go to the library or into town to walk around - but we lived for them.

Friday night came, and the dorm phone rang.

I knew.

It was Dad, calling to cancel. At the time, he ran a charter fishing company, and he'd had a last-minute booking. He couldn't come up that weekend.

My father had his reasons why...but to me? They were excuses. Weak ones. Excuses that told me I meant less than everything else.

I told him it was ok, that I understood, that I knew it was important. We finished the call, and I went to my room and cried where no one would see or hear and bother me. I missed out on the weekend activities, spent much of the time alone in the woods talking to the trees and trying to figure out why I didn't matter.
Yesterday was T's birthday. For weeks, Bird has asked me if he could spend that day with his dad. For weeks, I have been asking "So, how 'bout it, can the kid spend the day with you?" For weeks, the answer has been non-committal. Finally, a few days ago, T called and said he would come get Bird and keep him overnight.

After confirming that he really was coming, I told Bird.

He was over the moon.

So yesterday, T called and said he would come in the evening. Bird was excited all day. When T called at 6 to say he was on the way, he also told me he couldn't keep Bird over night...he'd had a last-minute call to work.

I was...annoyed. Disappointed. Not going to be the one to tell Bird. T could tell him when he got here. I was also glad that, once again, I had NOT made any plans that hinged on being without an Evil Genius. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid - I have come to expect these things.

Bird took the news well enough...but that, combined with the painfully short visit (about an hour here at Casa de Crazy, at least half of which T spent talking to me or texting/making/receiving calls on his phone) hurt him. He'd hoped to have his dad's birthday with his dad, a sweet thought...and he got a fraction of that.

He sang Happy Birthday to T (Without being coached or prompted by me, might I add?), eventually walked him out to his car, and came back inside...a very quiet boy. He spent the rest of the evening snuggled up to me on the couch - I let him stay up a little late and watch a show on what Earth might be like without a moon, put an arm around him (despite holding a sleeping Sprout), shared some Cheese-Its, and talked about what we were watching.

I know work is important. I know that income is necessary in today's society. I know that T's inability to tell people "I can't. I've made plans with my family." contributed to our divorce - coming in last place gets a little old, even when you're used to it. I also know that he's not trying to hurt Bird; he loves his son, and I do not doubt that for a moment. I know all of these things.

But Bird was hurt...is continually hurt when his father doesn't come until late in the evening to get him and brings him home early in the day, or cuts visits short to work, or goes to work while Bird is visiting, leaving the kid with his (T's) mom for most of the day - and while she adores him, it's his father he wants to see and be with.

Every time his father lets him down, I have to pick him up, pick up the slack, try to assuage hurt feelings, make it better (because I cannot make it right).

T has his reasons why...but to Bird? They're excuses.

And despite my best efforts, he is beginning to wonder why he doesn't matter.

1 comment:

Rene/ Not The Rockefellers said...

such a hard lesson to learn at such a young age...

you just continue to be that shining constant, Kyddryn

Bird'll do fine