A lot happens behind the scenes and we can grow dangerously comfortable in these areas where masquerades are consistently worn.
My surprising week began on Saturday, 9/23/2017, instead of Sunday this time because it was the morning we picked her up from the train station when she finally visited for the first time in nearly two years. I remember saying to my daughter “I’d be surprise if grandma comes but I don’t believe she will,” when soon after she called and told us about her train reservation. I remember hanging up from the conversation, thinking about how the text I sent her on 9/15/2017 at 06:24 that read “Good morning. You should visit us this weekend” must have touched her the same way I felt when I sent it – sorry, wishing we could make forward steps to heal our hurt.
It was awkward, I was nervous and my daughter sensed every emotion. I remember Butterfly saying something that insinuated my acting like a little girl who was happy to see her mom. Bingo! That was the exact feeling I had: happy like a little girl who would finally have a chance to ask questions about us and get clarity but also apologize for anything I did or have caused. When we finally had a chance to talk we were like foreigners in unguarded territory, hoping that certain questions weren’t asked because we did not want to hear the answers because dealing with what we heard would require us to do things we don’t normally do, such as show emotions. The feelings we conjured up were so unusual – at least for me – because a part of me wanted to let my guard down, but my cautious side knew that relaxing too much and exercising true candor was too risky too soon in our process of making amends after years of breached trust.
Moreover, most of our conversations resembled interactions you may see between strangers who would use their eyes to communicate because it was the only common, understood language, e.g. body language. However, unlike strangers, we had a common language but were afraid to speak it because it was the voice of pain, hurt, humiliation, turmoil, ugliness, immaturity, suffering, and deep wounds that, if exposed, would not survive the environment without professional intervention, which we did not have. So instead of daring to dive in, sort of speak, we talked using cues and at the surface of our pain insomuch that we each spoke our apologies, but only long enough to not feel the sincere result because we both wanted to keep a cordial atmosphere for my daughter’s sake, who was in listening distance and could sense if things were going sour. Yet, there were a few occasions when I would look a certain way and feel differently when responses were shared because the lag of time between each past incident left us both unsure of certain facts that needed proper addressing.
So, the remaining time spent together included bouncing around my small, intimate apartment, tip-toeing from room to room with hopes of not getting too uptight and in our feelings because we each knew that should things get out of hand, my daughter would be left to witness the very ugliness I have been trying to avoid, i.e. disruptive relations between females in the family. And although my attempts to make a positive difference was slightly successful, the result was expected: elevated voices, speaking over one another and wearing the mask that kept us safe for all these years – the facade that tricks one into believing that the image and scenery given to the public is just the opposite. Nonetheless, not all was lost because efforts were made and attempts were illustrated and the result left us both feeling a little better about what we dared to resolve on our own, which is our differences, misunderstandings and hurt. But at least we scratched the surface of what has changed the way we see, speak and perceive each other and I remain optimistic that our next visit will be sooner rather than later to gradually peel away our masks.