JJ told me once that his father smoked and he despised it when he was young. He said he swore he would never smoke as an adult, but of course, he does. I suspect he is like his father in ways in which he admires, in ways he hates and in ways he doesn’t even know about.
When my ex husband left he looked at me with scorn when I asked him if he was cheating on me and he said, “I had to do something to make myself feel good.” Later he sat in the chair in my living room and meekly said, “tell me I’m not like my father. I don’t want to be like him.” A father who had cheated on his mother, hurt her, degraded her and left him. He cried like a little boy. I cradled his head in my arms, I stroked his hair and I lied. “You’re not like him,” I said. And he cried, not for the hurt he had caused me, but for his own. One thing I know for sure, I would rather have tears in my eyes from my own broken heart than to have someone cradle me in their arms, stroke my hair and lie to me about what kind of monster I might have become.
JJ dated a girl once who did horrible, unforgivable things to him because she was hurt. I think of him now with someone else and it makes my stomach turn to think another scarred person might hurt him. I have been that girl, I have hurt people. Maybe not in quite the same way, but I was cruel none the less. I knew what I had and I knew men wanted it. I was cold and aloof and they loved it, they fell at my feet and I tore their hearts out. I promised myself when I met JJ that I would not hurt him. There were days when I wanted to swear at him, get out of bed and leave, even degrade him. There were times when I wanted to be the cold, hard bitch I am so good at being. Instead I placated him, I agreed with him, I softened my voice and my critiques, I kissed him, I tried to protect him, but I did not lie to him. I saw him as being young, but I didn’t see him as a child. It was not that I thought he was innocent or believed that he couldn’t stand up for himself. No, that was not it…what I got today is:
Dear Mom, You are special because you clean the house every night. You watch a movie with me every night. I love you soooo much. I hope you have a good day. I love you no-matter what. I hope you do too. You have a son that loves you. Love, Kai
Every time I was angry or frustrated with JJ I tried to remember that he may not be a child, but he is someone’s son. Someone who loves him soooo much no-matter what. How would I want someone to treat mine?
Do-It-Yourself Sushi (from a cookbook that my son made for me)
- Thin strips of seasoned sea weed
- Mirin – japanese bottled seasoning
- Soy sauce
- Wasabi – Japanese horshraddish
- Avocado, cucumbers, red or green peppers, chives or scallions
- Raw fish – optional
Japanese seasonings are easily available in Ethnic sections of supermarkets.
Make rice. Bring hot to table. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 cup Mirim, toss. Keep covered. Have on table small bowls of chopped chives, avocado, raw tuna, slivers of cucumber, red and green peppers and whatever else strikes your fancy. Each person should have small bowl for soy sauce and, if you wish, wasabi, to dip and a pile of seaweed wrappers.
Take seaweed wrappers in hand, cover with layer of rice. Add vegetables or fish in the center. Roll up – dip in sauce – eat.
“I looked at Lucas with the pang that a parent feels when he knows his child will be hurt and that it’s no one’s fault and that to try to preempt the rites of passage is an act of contempt for the child’s courage.” ― James Lee Burke
“Maybe children just want whatever it is they don’t get. And then they grow up and give their children what they wanted, be it silence or information, affection or independence–so that child, in turn, craves something else. With every generation the pendulum swings from opposite to opposite, stillness and peace so elusive.” ― Laura Moriarty, The Rest of Her Life
“Parenthood…It’s about guiding the next generation, and forgiving the last.” ― Peter Krause