The survey form I lifted off Ann's J had a therapeutic effect on me. There is something cathartic to owning my feelings and my thoughts. The power of the word "I" unleashed a flood of memories, reflections on the present, and possibilities for the future.
When I filled the blank for I HURT, this is what I wrote:
I hurt: when my children, husband, friends or family are hurting.
I am hurting right now because my daughter is. She came home on Friday and I immediately knew that her heart was heavy. I do not know what it is about being a mother that makes me feel I have a radar detecting my children's feelings. I somehow know whether my children had good or bad days as soon as they hit the door or can divine their feelings by the inflection of their voices. This sort of sixth sense is a heavy burden to carry during the bad days and a joy to have on good days.
My daughter who is averse to picking up the phone and blubbering her feelings, sent a sort of signal by calling and asking me if we were still "on” for our breakfast date. I said," It's almost lunchtime. Do what you want or needed to do. Call me when your social calendar is not full." I detected in her voice the absence of the usual I-am-in-love-with-life lilt but I was a little irate about her canceling dinner on me the other night and not calling like she promised about our breakfast and trip to the black lacquer exhibit. I felt guilty when I hung up the phone because I knew there was something wrong and she was reaching out to me. I went on line and e-mailed her. A little later, I saw she was online so I started talking to her. I told her that I was planning on seeing the Phantom of the Opera and I would like her to come with me if she was available. She said she would love to. We met at the theatre and my premonition about her world falling apart was validated. The vibration between us was so heavy and painful I wanted to take her in my arms and cry. I gave her a quick kiss and a hug instead because I did not want to break down. Whatever it was, she was trying so hard to be strong and I was not going to deny her that by turning into an emotional mush. I told her, "I know you are hurting because I can feel it. You do not need to tell me if you do not want to." She looked at me with a sad face and said, "Thank you. Thanks for inviting me to this movie because I needed it."
She came home with me after the movies and I gave her a dinner of warmed roast and potatoes from the night before. I really wanted to take her to dinner with me but I knew both of us would want to fill the silence while waiting for our orders and I got a feeling that she was not ready to talk so I opted to come home instead because I wanted to respect her silence. I knew it was her way of telling me that she is big girl now and she wants to deal with her own problems on her own terms.
It was so hard for me to sit by idly and let my daughter nurse the pain she was feeling on her own. I felt so sad because I can't do anything about it. She gave me a kiss on my forehead and said she loves me before she retreated to her room. I knew she knew how I felt too.