So, I'm going to go visit my mother for Christmas.
After I got her letter asking me to call or come see her, I wrote her one back saying that I would visit her so long as she promised that she would not say anything negative about anyone in our family - including my father. I got a message on my answering machine a few days later telling me that she is looking forward to seeing me and my son.
I am absolutely not looking forward to this. My younger brother and godmother are going to be there. Neither want anything to do with me. I'm determined to be nice and pleasant, and I'm going to pick some topics of conversation we can all (safely) talk about.
Hey, if she's willing to respect my need to keep things on a positive note, then I'm willing to make an effort, too.
The road to healing is long and painful. I can look over my shoulder and see that I've come a long way. But, I look up at the stars and see that I still have lightyears to go. I don't think I'll ever stop trying to improve myself and my relationships with others. I just hope I have the wisdom to choose the most important and valuable things to fix first.
I'm still capable of being stumped. My lover, upon hearing the news that I was going to suck it up and visit my mother on Christmas, told me he was proud of me. It hit me all at once like a paralysis: It was the first time I've ever heard those words from someone I care about and respect. I couldn't say anything. I just froze up. I didn't know what to feel or how to respond. I hope he doesn't think I'm a complete moron. I just plain ol didn't know what to do. Is "thank you" the right thing to say on such occasions? Or, "I'm glad you are." Or, ... what? nothing? I honestly don't know.
And then I began to think of all I've accomplished in my life. All of the charitable things I've been involved with, all of the GOOD choices I've made, and all of the career accomplishments I've had - not one family member who knew about these things ever uttered those precious words, "I'm proud of you." Then I had to think: Do I tell my son I'm proud of him? With a huge smile, I can honestly answer myself, "Yes!" I've broken the pattern - the cycle of dysfunction. My son knows I love him and he knows I'm proud of him and he knows I think he's a good boy and that I trust him.
Fuck it. I'm proud of me. :-)