Yesterday, I dropped off my 15yo daughter at a camp. She was quickly whisked off to the other side of a huge lawn for 'getting to know you' games. Just as I headed to my car, she broke away and came running as fast as she could back towards me. When she reached me, out of breath, she said, 'I wanted to say goodbye again' and gave me a big hug. If felt lovely.
As I drove off, I noticed my mind coming up with all sorts of reasons why she might have done that. Was it to set her apart from the other teens? Was it because she was anxious that if I died on the way home she hadn't said a proper goodbye? Was it to demonstrate how lovely she was to others?
The possible manipulative reasons got more absurd until, in a personal first, the thought popped in, what if you dropped all that and just decided it was because she loves you? I felt a big space open up and had an insight into how lovely it would feel to be able to let that in. That's when it dawned on me, that the reason I have been struggling with feelings of aloneness for so long is because I locked the door to my heart from the inside a long time ago.....and nothing was getting through, apart from the odd vapour.
I am existing on vapours!
I remember being 16 and visiting my father at his work. I admired him so much and was actually thrilled (not too strong a word) when he suggested we head downstairs for a coffee, something that had never happened before. We got there and I was chatting away when he asked me for an old friend's phone number so he could hit him up for some cheap paint. I vividly remember the awful, awful realisation that this was why he'd asked me down for the coffee. Perhaps that was the moment, perhaps earlier, that I started putting up the walls and locking the doors, hoping never to be caught off-guard like that again.
Two years ago, we brought home a senior cat from an animal shelter and both she and my daughter would climb into our big bed when my husband was away. One night, we were playing there and laughing as we always do, when, out of the blue, she said, 'I love you', but I didn't see where she was looking. What an insight that I was too frightened to respond in case she meant the cat! (It's ok to laugh, I do when I read that back). And I didn't feel I could ask who she meant in case that made her feel obliged to say it was me when it wasn't.
What message did that send to her, if she was saying it to me and I ignored it?
Maybe not much and yesterday's display says it hasn't dampened her affection but on reflection, it highlights how I just couldn't trust it to let it in.....my own daughter.
Awareness gets the ball rolling in any area. Yes, I've experienced crushing disappointment and yes, I'm considering removing the lock so I risk it happening again. I have greater resources at my fingertips now for handling it than I did back then.
I'm on the case.