Ugh… I knew it was coming
The number one thing I’ve been dreading about parenthood was that moment when my daughter finally realized that I don’t have a relationship with my own Mom.
A couple of months ago, she asked where GeekDaddy’s Father was and where my Mom was. When I explained that GeekDaddy’s Father was in heaven (she’s heard about that from Catholic preschool already) and he died before Mommy even met Daddy, she seemed okay with it. But it was harder to explain that Mommy’s Mommy was not a part of our lives because she’s sick in a way that keeps her from being a part of our lives.
I don’t know how else you explain alcoholism and psychological issues to a 4 year old. I did the best I could without getting bogged down into complicated details. I just told her that she was sick – and that unfortunately, that meant she couldn’t be around us.
Then I spent about 20 minutes reassuring her that I loved her more than anything and wasn’t going anywhere – and that Daddy wasn’t going to be dying any time in the foreseeable future. Which she took as pure truth based on the fact that she’s still young enough to believe me when I speak with certainty on stuff like that.
Of course, I should’ve probably foreseen that last week’s trip to the E.R. with GeekDaddy was going to trigger fears. He was taken by ambulance to the E.R. for a possible heart attack – which turned out not to be the case, thank heavens. But immediately following his release, she went from amazingly well-behaved and stable little girl to hysterical and sobbing. She kept being convinced that Daddy might die. We told her no, he was fine, see? He’s right there… and she finally accepted it.
Then today out of the blue “Mommy? I never have seen your Mommy… why have I never seen your Mommy?”
“Buttercup? Remember that Mommy’s Mommy can’t be around us because she’s sick.”
“Can’t we take her to a doctor to fix her?”
“No honey – the doctor can’t fix her. But I love you and I will never leave you.”
“Oh, okay… I love you to Mommy and I’ll never leave you… can I have some french fries?”
I wanted to ask the girl at the McDonald’s drive-thru if they had any whiskey to go in their coke, but I think she would’nt have understood. Sometimes, I wish I’d just lied and said my Mom was up in heaven with GeekDaddy’s Dad.
But how do I get her to understand that I could never be like my Mom when it comes to this? I could no sooner walk away from her than I could walk away from my own heart.