After years of estrangement from my adult son, I decided to reach out to him one more time – I sent him a message explaining the pain I had been going through. I didn’t understand at all what had happened and I deserved an explanation. It may have been wrong of me, but I basically explained that if he chose not to respond again, then I wasn’t going to beg anymore and I needed to move forward with my life. It was time I started having respect for myself, even if no one else did. It took a lot for me to get to that point – you can only be ignored and treated like crap for so long before you decide enough is enough.
Amazingly, my son wrote back. He actually apologized for the pain he had put me through. He said that it took him a long time to figure out why he was so mad with me but that in the end, it was him and not me at all. Huh? He said that he had done something that he hated himself for and he was taking it out on me. Here’s the kicker – he wouldn’t tell me what it was over the phone, only in person. Well, I wouldn’t see him in person for years! And who says that? Although I had hope, I also knew that something just didn’t seem right. Him not wanting to tell me over the phone or by email just seemed like a way for him to not have to tell me. It was around that time that I noticed what a difficult time I have trusting anyone anymore.
I raked my mind forever trying to figure out what he had meant. What had he done and why would it make him take it out on me? It just didn’t make any sense. But, I thought we had made a breakthrough – this was the most he had “talked” to me in years. It was at least something! Alas though, he became distant yet again, only responding if I wrote him first and even then, his responses were minimal and of nothing important or he just wouldn’t respond at all. So, he was so sorry for hurting me but had no problem continuing to do so? This game was getting old. Once again I stopped writing. But then, news came my way – my son was getting married in the fall 2015. I hadn’t heard from him at all, not even over the holidays of 2014 – not a “Merry Christmas” or anything. Frankly, I was done – I couldn’t take it anymore. He had already put me through the 5 stages of grief several times over – it was time for my son to step up and decide if he wanted me in his life or not. His upcoming wedding would be the make-or-break point.
I wrote to him and told him I didn’t know what to do about his wedding. He clearly had stopped contacting me again and I could only assume he didn’t want me there. I told him I would be there if he wanted me there but that we needed to talk about things beforehand. If we didn’t, then that was his choice to not have me at the wedding, not mine. I was not going to show up after 5 years of estrangement to see my son for the first time on his wedding day! A wedding is not the occasion for such a discussion. I didn’t really know what to expect back from him. There is this stigma out there in the world that once a parent, always a parent. The thing is, yes – I will always be a parent and I will always love my son, but I shouldn’t have to allow my child to walk all over me and treat me cruelly. He had all the power and it was time I took a little back.
He did write back and told me he did want me there and we set up a Skype video call. When the call came in, I was so anxious – I didn’t know at all what to expect. I was finally going to find out what had happened to make him estrange himself from me, after 5 long and painful years. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. We spent 3 hours on the video call. Seeing him, even through a computer, after so long was wonderful. He looked almost the same, just a little older. I noticed pretty quickly that his sense of superiority had gotten worse since joining the military. I was hoping that the military would help even out his bullheadedness and the way he sees women – it didn’t – he was even worse. I remember that made me feel sad. It’s like I had two sons – the one before the family drama and the one after. The one before – he and I were close and he was forever my little boy. The one after – I didn’t know this man.
I tried to be calm and was very non-confrontational – I didn’t want to risk losing him again. The thing is – he still didn’t tell me the truth. He told me it was all my family drama, which he completely implied was all my fault, and then when I didn’t go to his graduation, he was done with me. Um, first of all, my family hurt me – they were the ones causing all the drama, and second – the graduation thing didn’t ring true with what he had written to me a year earlier about it being him – something he had done. And he had started pushing me away long before the military and graduation. So was he lying then or was he lying now? I had to accept that I would never truly know what it was. For most of the video call, he talked about himself and the military, how he was smarter than everyone else, including his superior. The thing is – he never asked much about me.
When we got to discussing his wedding, it just got odd. He didn’t understand why we needed to talk about things first. I tried to explain that it would have been very awkward to see him after all those years if we hadn’t, especially at his wedding of all things. In a totally shock to me – he asked, “Why would it be awkward?” Oh man – he just didn’t get it at all. He asked if I would be a problem at his wedding, if I would cause drama with the family – WTF? I’m not the one he needs to be concerned about! I’m not the one playing games to try to hurt someone (hello, sisters)! But I told him I had gotten passed the family issues a long time ago. After a lot of talk about nothing, we ended the call and he promised to keep in touch more. He didn’t though. He has never called again and barely written unless I ask a question about the wedding. It was clear to me then that our relationship would never be any different. We would be civil to each other but he was not going to try to make anything better. In a way – I got what I needed from that call. That call finally gave me a true acceptance of the situation. I finally knew that there was nothing I could do – my son is who he is. I started to see that maybe it wasn’t me after all, at least not all me. It was time to move forward. Maybe one day in the future, my son will realize a few things. Maybe someday, he will come back to me. It’s in his hands now, not mine, and I am okay with that now. I’ve been so bogged down in estrangement for so long and it’s time I started living again.
His wedding is a little over a month away now and I will be there. But that is its’ own story and its’ own post.