Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Pink Elephant . . . He's Here

A week or so ago, our daughter blogged about the Pink Elephant that had been living in her house. She rightfully booted him out the door and sent him down the road.

Surprise, surprise. I think he's taken up residence here. As many of you have noticed and wondered about, my blogging juices have not been flowing recently. At first, I chose to avoid addressing here in my blog the marital break-up with which our daughter is dealing. But has it been affecting me? Ooooh, ya.

Even though my "baby" is thirty-eight years old, that baby is still the one entity I will instinctively want to protect and shield from all the ills of the world as long as I live. When she is struggling and in pain, my heart leaks a small, steady trickle of blood . . . which has apparently been traveling to my fingers and causing such swelling as to render me incapable of typing.

It takes two people to make a marriage work, but only one to end it. My daughter is not perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. (Oooops, I didn't mean to shatter the illusion.) I've watched my daughter give and support and carry the bulk of the load and do everything she could to "make things better." She would have even given up her beloved Swamp River Ridge and her dreams had she been asked. But she wasn't asked.

The crux of the matter is that she was "the last to know." When a person can choose to walk away from a commitment without having the moral fortitude to meet a problem head-on with honesty, respect is lost, at least to my mind. When that same person spills his feelings to apparently (many) random sources, but doesn't share these same feelings with his partner because he doesn't "want to hurt her," a large chunk of betrayal enters the picture. For all those involved. Even my husband and I feel betrayed.

You willingly offer all you have to give, but nothing of substance comes back. Granted, there have been issues with which to be dealt. True depression is a terrible thing. (Been there, done that. You don't have to explain it to me.) In hindsight, I can't help but wonder how much depression was involved and how much was basic lack of honesty, values and moral strength. Emotional core strength. Strong, sincere offers of help were extended not only from immediate family but from others who truly cared.

There were indications that substance was lacking. Why is hindsight so very clear? I think we simply refuse to see that which we don't want to believe. But when a person can choose to walk away from problems involving a marriage commitment without having the basic honesty to explain his feelings, whatever they may be, to the person your actions will most affect, hurt comes to all involved. If he had had the decency to come to us (let alone his wife!) and say that he couldn't explain his feelings, but this is what they were, we would have been crushed but able to understand knowing that each and every one of us has no chance of living a happy, contented, satisfying life if we aren't true to ourself.

I find it hard to excuse irresponsible behavior by saying "he can't help it," when he can explain his feelings quite well to many people, when he can make plans for the future which mean walking away from his present life with no closure or explanation before doing so. Nope, "he can't help it" doesn't do it for me in this case. There were vows broken, basic values missing. Am I being judgmental? If so, call me old-fashioned. I'll consider it a compliment.

My daughter has spent the last couple (few?) years giving and not getting. She's not had a partner to cherish her, help her, support her, or dream with her. And now this is a particularly painful, difficult period for her. She's questioning herself, wondering if she did enough. Aaah, that fine line between supporting and enabling. So hard for any of us to walk. I have the same conversation with myself (what more could/should I have done?) many times a day.

But she is one strong gal who is only going to benefit from moving on from this point. Rough days ahead yet, but she has so much to give and deserves to get so much more from life than has been the case recently. I have absolutely no doubt she's gonna come out of this in great shape.

I feel better now, and as I look out the window, I can see the tail end of that Pink Elephant slip-sliding his way down our icy driveway. Lock your doors. He's looking for a new home, and he's not a fun house guest.


Jennifer Jo said...

Oh, Mama Pea. We've had HERDS of pink elephants in our home, They're nasty critters, and one of the side effects is, indeed, swollen finger tips. Bad, bad elephants.

I read about your daughter's break-up and I wanted to comment to you but I didn't want to say anything that shouldn't be said in this space. But now I can. And what I want to say is this:

My thoughts are with you. If I could hug you, I would. I am so very sorry this is happening. The hurt is profound and deep and the only thing that can get you through it is lots and lots of hugs---I wish I could give you one of those hugs (I think I already said that). Your daughter is so fortunate to have you, a wise mother (and father, too, I believe) with lots of perspective. Thank you for sharing---it means so much to me to be allowed a picture into your pain---makes me a stronger person in a round-about sort of way.

Love and hugs (there they are again!) and kisses, etc, etc, etc,

Erin said...

Ok, I'm sobbing now. MamaPea, to hear those words spoken from a mother is absolutely heartbreaking and at the same time so inspirational and attests to the power and love between mothers and daughters and women in general! I too, don't consider myself old-fashioned just because I expect basic human decency from people. At its very heart, that includes your wife, immediate family, and home. These are the people that should be the first to know about things affecting you, and be in on any decisions made long BEFORE they are made. And yes, I said "home"... it has been bothering me as well that he has such a lack of feeling of responsibility not only to his chosen lifelong companion, but to the homestead that he helped create, and all the chores both physical and financial that go along with it. And I don't even know him! We women can get worked up, can't we? But that's why we are so strong, we stick together and talk things until we're blue in the face, and then we will move on. She will too, and she will have the strength of many friends and family holding her up when she thinks she can't do it herself. Keep a high head MamaPea, things can only get better from here, right? And before that pink elephant leaves, stomp on his tail before the door DOES hit him in the a$$! Having a glass of wine to toast you & your daughter tonight!

Sparkless said...

Sounds like the pink elephant was having a big old midlife crisis. I hope your daughter finds a much better relationship with a much better man.

Conny said...

Hey, that pink elephant lived under our rug (in a previous marriage) for about 8 years). I was glad to see him go!! He travels a lot.

It's tough to see your children suffering. As my mom said, just because you're [40+] doesn't mean that I don't worry about you. Once a mom, always a mom. That's a good thing.

Things can only get better from here on.

Jordan said...

Mama Pea, thanks for your honesty. I can feel the hurt oozing from every letter, and see how you stretched several times not to end your sentences with prepositions (sorry - it can't all be sad). I think sometimes we marry what we HOPE the other person is, and never see what they really are until years later. I know I did. I feel your pain! There will come a time when you all sincerely feel better off that he is not in your lives, but you know that. Know also that shared pain is pain halved. Thanks for sharing.

beth said...

I'm sending some hugs your way. It's so hard to see our children go through hard things and not be able to "fix it" right away!
Your daughter is very fortunate to have you!

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Sounds like the skunk hat he was wearing one of the only times I met him suited him better than any of us knew.

I am so sorry for Chicken Mama, but am sure that all will work out for the best. She deserves much better than what she got from him.

Mama Pea said...

To all you unbelievably wonderful women - Thanks for the lovely words and support so readily given. How can you be so loving and giving to someone you've never met in person? What if I'm really a serial killer? (Well, I DO have a whole bunch of really bad habits.) I was home alone for dinner last night and thought of you all with warm feelings as I guzzled a BIG glass of wine with my macaroni and cheese casserole. Now I need to let go of my personal feelings and concentrate my energies on being the best support I can be for my daughter.

P.S. Yesterday shortly after the Pink Elephant was sent down the driveway, we saw a timber wolf trotting up it. He looked very healthy and well-fed. (Hmmm, elephant sushi?)

Erin said...

I always knew those wolves were beautiful creatures, who knew they were so darn useful too? LOL

MaineCelt said...

In all the broken places, may there be a blessed openness, hard as it is to live with that sharp-edged space.

May all of you find clarity.

May all of you find a safe space for rage, for sorrow, for laughter and for healing.

(And may all them elephants figger out that zone three just AIN'T the place for them, at all.)

Mama Pea said...

MaineCelt - It will happen. Thank you. :o)