More Daddy Issues

March 10, 2016

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Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating my mom’s birthday with a good friend who I admire as both a creative and an entrepreneur.  We went to see Neal Brennan’s show 3 Mics in Noho.  The comedian went to each different mic to share emotional stories, stand up and one liners.  As a creative person who has not been exercising her muscle, I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement throughout the bits.

 

Neal talked about his critical and nasty father who admitted that he did not really love him and specifically omitted him from his will.  His dad apparently tried to control his children with money.  On his death bed, his father called him to his side trying to get him to plea to be reinstated in the will.  What a shmuck.  To spend his final moments with his son trying in a messed up power play versus sharing a sweet memory is a complete waste.

 

It made me realize that for all of my dad’s nonsense and controlling techniques, he was not such a bad guy.  On his deathbed, my dad made jokes and celebrated his family.   He never missed an opportunity to tell me he loved me or how proud he was to be my father.  Yes, he tried to control me with his money both when he was alive and, as my mom promised, from the grave.  While he told us one thing and his will said another, my siblings and I are treated equally, making for a united front that has only brought us closer together.

 

Brennan talked about the vulnerability of doing stand-up as opposed to being creative with another person whom he could hide behind.  Somehow the security blanket of having a celebrity beside you gave him courage and now in an effort to live more fully he is branching out on his own.   His dad’s narcissism and his desire for approval influenced his work.  I remember writing spec scripts and sharing them with my dad, then being disappointed when he did not find time to read them.

 

We should all be so lucky to lose our parents.  It’s the right cycle of life.  And when it happens, there is a sense of liberation.  I see how my brother has been able to thrive without the shadow of my dad following him.  His wife commented on how it was not until my dad’s final year of his life that my brother garnered enough courage to say no directly to my dad.  No hiding or evading or stretching the truth as to why he would not be at his beckon call.   He regrets not being able to do that sooner.  Personally, I credit my husband with helping me stand up to my parents and not be so dependent on their approval.

 

All of this on what would have been my mothers 68th birthday.  I know she would have been pleased that I went out spontaneously to see a great show.  More importantly she must be so pleased that my brother sister and I have all broken free from any chains she or my dad may have held.

 

 

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Grasping

January 25, 2013

I am an optimist.  Sometimes to the point of naivete.

Before I began this post, I reviewed the titles of previous posts one of which was Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice.  I don’t remember that mistake, but I find myself repeating the advice.

 

I’m trying to remain optimistic while being honest with myself – another axiom I preach.

My dad is really sick.  I’ve known if for some time during most of which he enjoyed thoroughly.  He was not in too much pain but I knew he was frail.  And then he got frail.  And frailer.  And I’ve been scared.

I hold out hope that he will get strong enough to receive more drugs with the hopes the tumors will shrink.  The lymph nodes go down.  The blood flows back through his legs so swollen they are not moved.

A part of me believed that, and I’m not sure if a part of me still does.  Would it be easier to say it’s gonna end as we always knew it would and begin the goodbye process.  Do we talk about executors and executrixes and make the five year deposit into the grandchildren’s college funds.

 

The doctor said to me, “we’re grasping at straws” before leaving.

I know my dad.  I know how strong he is.  I know he beat this before. And came out with a great quality of life.  And perhaps will just have bursts of that, but we’ll take it.  He is stable now. They did a successful procedure today and are now stopping the blood thinners.  I made him soup for tomorrow.  He’s going to get out of the ICU and into a room on another floor. My sister and cousin will come in this week.

 

And life goes on.

Whoever has the most fun wins.

 


That Time of the Year

May 11, 2012

Mothers Day is three days away and while it is less painful then previous years it still hurts.  I miss my mom.  Some days I really feel her presence like last weekend in New Orleans. Most of the trip I kept thinking of how much she would enjoy the city and then, when posing with local Indians in their colorful garb I was channeling my mother even repeating her mantra when forcing us to pose for photographs, “You’ll thank me later.”

 

So here I am, 33 years old, married with three children, running my mom’s business, running my own business, attending to my mom’s mom, and doing the best I can.  There are times I feel just like my mom, other times I feel her presence beside me – one time I even channeled her telling me, “I can’t make it so obvious” and other times I just want to talk to her.

 

Earlier this week my husband’s boss’s wife invited me to some mother’s day fundraiser movie screening/ event. I did the big thing and invited my step mother (who subsequently ignored said email).  I told my husband last night about the invite and he asked what I was doing instead.  And he guffed when I said staying home.  But I just do not want to be at some mother-daughter event that my mom would have enjoyed.

 

It’s hard.  It’s supposed to be hard. And I remind myself how lucky I am to have a mother so wonderful whose void is so profound.

 


Are You There Mom, It’s Me?

April 22, 2012

On the advice of an acquaintance I reached out to my mother through a medium. With my brother and sister on the telephone we called South Africa to hear the Medium describe things about our mother that go beyond any sort of google or Facebook search. It was eerie.

I’ll use the word mom, although everything was spoken through the medium as a vessel for my mother to communicate with us. She said glowing things to my brother and challenging things to my sister and to me, not too much.

Talking to my sister, my sister Mom began by apologizing then telling her to leave her husband and work harder at her photography. To my brother, she raved about how happy she was and how successful he will be. And to me, I’m supposed to take care of my sister as she leaves her husband, go back to writing, which will be successful if I finish, oh, and I am not using my brain.

My sister was devastated and conflicted by all of the information and shared more than she should have with her husband who claimed to have had a sixth sense they would not work out which was one of the reasons he has been resisting getting a vasectomy. After consulting with her shrink, my sister concluded that science cannot explain our experience but that does not mean it was not real, or at least real to us. It is more than okay to explore things like this so long as it does not dictate our life and choices. I added, that perhaps Mom had said all of these things because this is what we needed to hear. The harsh words will force my sister to craft a healthier relationship with her husband or she’ll get the courage to leave. My brother needed the confidence about his business to gain confidence to pursue deals and I needed the direct comments to return to my writing which has taken a back seat to the kids.

That night my mom came to be in my dream. She had known about the medium but warned me not to do it too frequently, and just like my mother suggested we use a different person next time from Latin America. A kooky friend of my mother’s was not surprised about the conversation. Like me she has felt mom’s presence and she simp;y needed a vehicle to communicate directly with us. At first I thought that the medium was 80-90% accurate but the more I think about it, the percentage falls closer to 65%. But having 65% of my mom for an hour sure felt great.


Skeletons in Someone’s Closet

February 9, 2012

It’s been a slow start to writing this year but a new baby will do that. Even now as i type with my left hand because my son is sucking on my right, I’m struggling to do this post. A healthy baby and a happy family is a great trade-off. A lot has happened since I last wrote and I’m not sure where to begin, but a new person in the world and the recent and unexpected loss of my favorite uncle brings me to the topic of mortality.

My dad lost his brother and best friend three weeks ago. And despite all of my dad’s cancers treatments and metastases I’m finally fearing for his mortality. He’s been afraid on and off for years, but I was able to tune it out as I was still mourning my mom who never blatantly felt it was the end and did not want his insecurities to overshadow her loss. I remember my mom paying the extra fare to upgrade to first class as a “direct result of her diagnosis” and say that she had no regrets, but she would not share fears of dying. And my father with his seemingly better diagnosis would articulate his fears.

I do not have too many regrets with my relationship with my dad. Sure I wish some things may have played out differently, but we each have strong stubborn personalities and to have avoided certain disagreements would require we each be different people. And my dad can be difficult. But I think he used to be a lot more difficult.

My mother and grandmother have shared some rather unpleasant stories about my dad’s behavior when he was married to my mom. Embarrassing stories that I wish were not true and I ask my grandmother not to mention again. Last week at lunch my dad tells me how he is proud of his behavior and has never done anything shameful, and I want to scream out what about all of the women you seduced while married to mom? (Fortunately he has ceased reminding me that when he wanted to work things out with my mom, she had no interest.) He doesn’t know I know, and I believe he no longer has a wandering eye, or the energy, but I wonder if this is something I should address with him.

It all happened over 30 years and I wonder what questions of reckless choice I made as a youth I will be forced to answer to my children. Then again, I cannot imagine prophesying to my kids about my exemplary life. One of my dad’s contentions with me has been that I take him literarily, and this would be another example of that. To have an open relationship with my dad do we need to clear up events that happened before I started kindergarten or in some cases before I was even born? Naturally I do not want this to be a death bed conversation, but I fear the window to address this may be closing.


Will you be my friend?

December 6, 2011

I’ve written about my friendship insecurities before, many of which stem from a childhood that felt at most times friendless. There are people I’ve requested friendship from on Facebook, at least one person who was at multiple tween birthday parties that went ignored. There’s the other friend who moved several states away who I considered my best friend at least in second through fourth grade who accepted a request but shut me down when I asked when she might be visiting our hometown. “I’ll let you know when I’m back in New York,” she responded to my wall comment. I’ve since writing on her page but did notice multiple pictures of parties at different occasions in our hometown.

In all fairness, it’s not like we communicated much since eighth grade even though we shared many classes through our last year of high school (I had briefly changed schools). Hint taken.

But then I have friends in my city with whom there have been no falling outs (that I am aware of) who have been seemingly evasive. There is one friend in particular who is single and I mention this because we are in very different stages of our lives. She has a demanding job which understandably limits her time and energy but I cannot help but take it personally. I’ve seen her obsess over a seemingly innocuous conflict that clearly did not appear to demand immediate attention. She makes significant efforts to see out of town guests and even hosts disrespectful colleagues that she admits to not even liking.

I’ve gone what I’ve considered out of my way to accommodate her whims and neuroses so we can see each other.

She’s cancelled plans, doesn’t reply to emails or texts (in fact was quite lame on my birthday when we were both in town). I wonder if this is a result of her own drama – and I am sure there is ample amount of that, or if she is upset or wants to sever ties. I happen to really like this friend when we are together and she was incredibly faithful during an awful time in my life. We’ve gone through binges where we will spend time together and then she will go radio silent for months on edge.

I’d like to tell her how I feel but it is hard when we do not see each other. I wanted to tell her how disappointed I was by what happened on my birthday – she texted me in the morning, said she had work to do, wanted to know where we were watching fireworks then all but said I’ll wait to see if I get a better offer – never acknowledging my birthday or checking in later in the day – but we did not reconnect for at least a month later and it felt weak on my part to bring it up after the fact.

Again, I know she is busy at work, and dating and probably has more fun out with friends who can drink and waddle a lot less. Humbly, she may be jealous that I am married with children (a window that is closing for her), and do not have to cope with office politics.

But I cannot help wonder is it me? Is it her? Did I do something? Should I stop making the effort?


Nanny Dilemmas

October 31, 2011

I know I am impossible to please, a disposition only exacerbated by my pregnancy.
And so nearly two months after hiring my nanny I’m debating whether or not to keep her. Every week I see a new post on my message board promoting some pseudo Mary Poppins who speaks Spanish and I get buyers remorse.

My nanny is very good with the kids – which is main reason I hired her. And she shows up on time, every day. But I do not like her. I do not like her attitude or her sassiness. I do not look forward to her coming in the morning and I resent that she had said in the interview that she is amenable to change her schedule and she has not really worked with me regarding the change. It takes time to train someone and as my sister says, I’ll still need to train her three years down the line.

I’m trying to decide if all of this is fixable or not. If it is not, I’d like to nip it in the bud and find a replacement before the baby comes. If it is, which perhaps it could be, then I need to shift gears and do a better job of dictating my expectations.

When I came home from the hospital with my daughter four years ago, emotional and insecure as a new mom, we had a baby nurse (I know I’m incredibly privileged!) and I hated her. The nurse would slip in criticisms of me and my husband leaving me more emotional and insecure. I don’t remember the details other than her one time laughing at me for where I put the diaper creme and how I bathed my child, but I do recall being happier when she was gone and wishing I had the courage to replace her even if she only worked for a few weeks.

I live in an apartment so when I am home with the kids and the nanny I find her underfoot. Perhaps, that is because she interrupts me when I am reading a story to my son and tries to divert him into a conversation with her. I suppose I should be grateful how she engages my kids but I did say in the interview that her job is 50 percent cleaning. And I am only seeing an attitude when I ask her, or things left. I suppose if I was home less, doing more, than I’d feel differently.

My husband is annoyed with me, thinking I am addicted to change which in turn affects our kids. I just don’t have a crystal ball. And I do not know how to try out someone new with the current nanny working full time.

This should be my biggest problem!