I just watched a show in which the characters were celebrating Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement. It’s also the day of forgiveness. I know February is nowhere near the Yom Kippur season, but something about the episode is rattling around me like a desperate bird. I am thinking about family, in all its forms. I hate the way my parents can be so critical of each other sometimes, not really listening or connecting. I know that there is deep love there; I just wish, and have wished for decades, that they could turn on the spot and see each other and the world with different eyes. That they could drop their need to be right, their need to control the situation (overtly or covertly), their need to appear intelligent or perfect or beautiful or superior. I’m so tired of how it spreads to us, their children, and affects the relationship I've chosen for life. I see it when I want to be right, when I want to look smart and perfect and when I hate being out of control and my temper flares. I detest more than anything A being mad at me, like I do my parents or brother being mad at me. And because I can’t seem to get past these patterns yet, not with daily meditation and yoga, not with therapy, here we are, emulating them for the next generation. I refuse to stand by and watch. Perhaps a better approach is to befriend this shadow side of mine (and all of ours), to understand its triggers and hungers, thank it for its wisdom and lessons. I think I need to stop filtering my parents’ issues like a wrinkled old kidney and step aside. Give them some space. Give me some space.
I wish I hadn't yelled so much at my dad as a kid. I wish I hadn't criticized my brother so much as a teen, and now I wish I wasn't so hard on my mom. Mostly I wish I could forgive A for getting pregnant when I couldn't for carrying our son, for being absent for a while. Somewhere along the way I've broken, and I think it has actually been cathartic. Since successfully crossing the Year-1 line as parents, I feel fantastic and fresh, hopeful. We are eating better, spending more time together. I am still raw and sore, but new skin is forming, strong, flexible skin, my own skin. It bears the marks of life like tattoos imprinted, but wears them proudly as if to say “here is my story, and what I have overcome”. This new skin is powerful, peaceful, and looser (and not just because I’m turning 35). It covers a more integrated body beneath it. My eyes and arms are wide open. Forgive me, all of you, for being honest, for hurting you, for resenting you. I love you forever.