I have the stomach flu. Doesn’t quite seem like a fair tradeoff.
I’ve been quiet because I heard back from Ruth. Her email was really great, a much kinder and longer “No shit, Sherlock” and some suggestions as to how we can try to fix things between me and Cricket. And now I actually have to work on a relationship with this toddler who kind of terrifies me, and I am paralyzed. Oh, and they’re coming for a visit on Sunday.
The upset I feel caught me off guard. I didn’t expect to get such a compassionate and engaged email, frankly, and now I’m trying to imagine doing a better job of being a b*mother and getting upset. Even writing this, I am getting tense and distressed. What on earth is going on?
Ruth said that she’s glad that we can have this conversation, that she’s watched me get increasingly withdrawn and awkward around Cricket, and here are some ideas she has for ways to build a relationship that isn’t build entirely on sad looks from me. I have a couple of pictures from our last visit that include both me and Cricket, and you’d swear that we had been photoshopped together—we couldn’t seem less close. I don’t know why I thought that Ruth and Nora wouldn’t have noticed what a terrible job I am doing, but having that particular illusion shattered has been a pretty good whack to the back of my emotional knees.
Here are Ruth’s ideas:
- They could come down less frequently but for a full weekend, so that we could take little breaks and Cricket wouldn’t be manic from loss of nap. I asked whether we could do that once a year and then fit in other visits around it as seem possible; I guess we’ll see. But we had two visits last year, and I don’t think fewer than that is a good idea.
- They could stop calling me Mama Susie and let the relationship be less, but peacefully less. This doesn’t feel like the right thing to do.
- Skype. I have some hope for this one—talking once every week or two seems like a way to get to know each other better, but also like a lower-stakes meeting than a Visit.
- We could brainstorm ways to involve me more at visits. I really have no idea of what that might be like.
Additionally, I suggested that I might be able to visit them with Joey while Mr. Book is working once in awhile, and she agreed that this could be a good idea also.
All of that, and they are coming on Sunday.