About Me

My photo
...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

She Goes Again...

Before he married again, she was lucky if she got a phone call once a month, let alone see him. He seemed happy and carefree, trouncing around the country a free man -- going where ever he wanted and doing whatever he wanted, and she was an afterthought. For me, this was to be expected of him; it seemed consistent with the character I married, but... though it's sometimes hard for me to believe, and perhaps even accept, something shifted for him.

He married two years ago, and about a month before his wedding he called me and apologized for things he had done. I distinctly remember sitting in the dark on my patio and suddenly his voice softened as he stuttered and stammered his way through a bunch of "uhs" and "ums" and a few sighs before announcing he had something he'd been wanting to say for a while. After a couple more inhales and exhales, he listed off a series of deeds and words that he should've apologized for years before that. Of course, I doubt I would've been ready to hear it "years ago" since even my reaction at that time was one of polite misgiving (he'd done a fine job of training me to always wonder what his manipulative ploy was this time...).

About six months into his new marriage, he drove out here to pick her up and take her camping for the weekend. She had told him on the phone a few days prior that her bike was broken and mommy didn't know how to fix it. He came to the door with his tool box and took time to fix her bike. She was so excited, she begged for time to ride it before they left. So she hopped on and rode around as we stood there and watched. Out of nowhere he looked at me and said, "You really have done a wonderful job with our daughter." And just as the moment of disbelief and distrust stirred within me, he followed it up with, "I mean it. I know I haven't said it to you before, but she's so smart and she's so talented and she's so well behaved and I know I haven't had anything to do with that. It's all you and I want you to know that I know that." I was dumbfounded and struggled not to cry because I really wanted to believe he was sincere, but all the nightmare that had passed between us was still a bit too much to let go. And now it's summer, and by this time Thursday night she will be well on her way to spend it with him. And all of this is on my mind right now because something different happened tonight.

For the first time in all these years, while she was talking on the phone with him tonight, she sounded completely at peace and truly excited to go out and be with him. This is significant to me because it quite possibly means we've reached some kind of fabulous turning point; because for the past two years, since his new marriage, we've struggled to help her adjust to the changes; because I'm starting to believe that if his apology was a "manipulative ploy" at all, it was because he knew this would be difficult for her and he knew he would need my help. And there have been some terrible moments between the two of them and his new family. And I am no saint. Believe me, I've had no trouble being Mama Bear when I've felt she's been treated unfairly, but even at that, I have to admit that he's handled those moments with a humble patience that he never had in the past. And there've been countless goodbyes at the airport with her clinging to my legs, crying and sobbing and begging me not to make her go, while I stop my own heart from bleeding as I don a smile, look her in the eye, tell her all will be well and to have fun. But not this time.

This time was different. There were no headaches and random stomach aches brought about by dread and fear. There were no tears and no cries for me to keep her here. This time there was simply a smiling face accented with smiling eyes and a touch of excitement in her voice. This time she hugged me and told me how much she loved me and off to sleep she went.

So now I sit here, a sense of awestruck relief surrounding me. Maybe this time I won't get crying phone calls while I'm sitting at work. Maybe this time I won't have to lie awake at night and wonder if she's okay because she will be. Maybe this time I won't have to play the buffer. And maybe this time all I'll have to do is relax and miss her.

No comments:

Post a Comment