Daughter and I went out for cocktails on Saturday night, while Mr. Lesbian babysat our granddaughter. They had an exciting night planned while we were out - "Nancy Drew" was on Pay-Per-View. Meanwhile, daughter and I drove down to the nearest town - music blaring. Daughter had made a compilation CD and it had some oldies, but goodies on it. "Ladies' Night," for one...quickly followed by Ms. Jackson singing "Nasty Girl," some Beyonce, Chris Brown and a host of other folks, some of whom I'd never heard of. The roads were clear, the moon was unbelievably orange and luminous, hanging low in the sky in an end-of-the-world kind of way, and we chatted all the way in to town.
Sitting in a Mexican restaurant on Main Street, we had frozen Margaritas and split an entree and a dessert and talked and talked and talked. There's this fun game I used to play with an ex-lover (now closest confidante) called "Tell Me Three Things." It's what I'd call an intimacy game, because you have an opportunity to find out gobs of cool shit about people you love. The game goes like this. You take it in turns to pick a category, and then ask the person to tell you three things about the category. Last night, daughter went first and she said, "Mummy, tell me three things you regret." Okay, so here's a word of warning...there are some things that it's hard for people to hear. This for example is not the time to tell your dearly beloved daughter that being a single parent was incredibly hard and it would have been a lot easier not to have had to experience that. However, it is the time to tell daughter (or son if you have one) that you wish you'd worked harder in high school. Because we were baring our souls, I was trying to keep it real. The three things I'd regretted?
1. Not embarking on my career when I was younger, instead wasting my talent and intelligence in meaningless, low-paying, depressing jobs. (This was a little close to the bone, because partly why I didn't do that was because I got pregnant and raised a child instead of going to school.)
2. The way my relationship with Lynnie S.M. from Chelsea, NYC ended nearly 10 years ago. I'm not proud of that, even though I have worked on forgiving myself, and although she still won't speak to me, I wish she would.
3. I wish I had not succumbed to my mother's attempts to diet all three of her daughters, particularly me, leading to a higher bodily set point, years of disordered eating (only now getting under control) and a lifelong battle to see myself as valuable because of the body I'm in.
The regret I would have added if I had been allowed four regrets was my decision to remain with Mr. Lesbian as long as I have. (Yes, I know..we had a five month separation and I came back. I know that I haven't written about that yet and I will. Later.) Meanwhile, I realized while talking to my own therapist that if life hadn't been so chaotic at the time I got involved with Mr. Lesbian, it would have been a hot affair that lasted 6 months, and then I would have realized its shortcomings and moved on. However, at the time the loss of Mr. Lesbian's son meant that I just couldn't leave her alone like that. In addition, at the time there were numerous other distractions. I was struggling with bulimia, my daughter had serious substance abuse issues, and then revealed a "surprise" pregnancy and then subsequent premature birth of my granddaughter, while all this time I was trying to finish graduate school and was holding down a big-damn-job. It was not an easy time. And, it sounds pathetic, but the years just careened past and before I knew it, nearly ten years had gone by.
So, one of the other questions my daughter asked me? Tell me three things that give you joy.
My answers were as follows:
1. My daughter and granddaughter.
2. My work as a sex therapist
3. Reading books and writing ......and folks, that's all I could think of.
And that's when I realized something crucially important. This life is just too short to be putting "reading books" on the end of a list of that magnitude. I don't expect marriage to be easy - after all, I had my parents relationship as the template for marriage. But I expect more than I have, for the amount of work I've put in. It should be supplying some part of the joy in my life and it isn't, it just isn't.
Labels: Daughter, Social Event