The following letter will not reach it’s recipients unless they happen upon this blog and this blog post. If that were to happen, that would be an okay thing. If not, well, it’s how I’m processing my frustration and if that’s the only purpose here then that’s just fine with me.
Dear Other Parents,
I’m sorry if I have offended you. Offense is not my intention. While I’m not exactly sure how I have been so incredibly offensive, I would like to ask for your forgiveness anyways. Know that as I am being humbled in these moments with these words, it is a struggle to do so.
I heard you tell me you had no idea Michael is participating in a Christmas musical. This was surprising to hear because I talked to you about it at the very beginning. When you told me you wouldn’t allow Michael to attend practices when he was at your house, I remember volunteering to do all the driving and even make up the hours you would lose. You said no and while that was frustrating, Michael was already learning the songs and was excited about the play. Because of our situation, the director gave us privileges with the tutorial so Michael could learn the dance moves at home.
A few weeks ago I remember having a phone conversation with you. I remember asking that if Michael were at your house the week of his performance, that you would be on board to take him to it. The response I received was, shall we say, worrisome. A red flag popped up but I chose to remain hopeful. I remember you telling me you had plans to go out of town for Christmas so you might not be in town for the performance. I got the date as quickly as I could and shared it with you and received no response to my text message.
I often don’t receive responses to my text messages which is frustrating and at time worrisome. When we finally had a conversation about Michael’s performance, here are some of the things I heard:
“I told you I wasn’t sure we could make it.”
“Michael doesn’t talk about it and so he isn’t excited about it.”
“He tells me he doesn’t want to do it.”
“I won’t make him do something he doesn’t want to do.” I heard this line over and over and over again – as if you couldn’t think of anything else to say.
I understand that Michael is having a hard time. When he doesn’t receive encouragement, he struggles. When he feels like he is failing, he struggles. Michael is doing something that is difficult. He should be praised for that. He should be encouraged to continue on even in the midst of his emotions. He is a child. He doesn’t know right or wrong very well yet. Choosing right over wrong is not easy and must be taught. That is OUR job. We teach our kids every day. We guide them in their decisions – even when it’s difficult for us.
I’m nervous about the idea of Michael standing up on stage. I’m nervous because he struggles to practice at home due to embarrassment and feeling less than qualified. While Mr. Sexy and I do what we can to encourage him, it doesn’t have as much of an impact when he goes to your house where he is told that it’s okay to quit.
Is it okay to quit?
If we let Michael quit the play, we are telling him it’s okay to quit.
When things are hard, just quit.
When you get bad grades, just quit.
When at first you don’t succeed, just quit.
When you don’t feel love for your spouse, just quit.
Right now we have the opportunity to teach our son something. It’s not a small thing, either. That’s why this is so important. If we let him quit now, then a pattern has started. Once started, that pattern gets harder and harder to break.
If we let him quit this play, we are letting him down. We are failing our son. WE are the failures. And Michael will suffer in the end.
As I have said countless times, I would appreciate getting together for conversations. Yet, you make up excuses as to why you can’t. Recently, however, I have been given a flat out “no” due to the issue of emotions. I don’t understand this. Are you unable to keep your emotions in check long enough for a 10 minute conversation in a coffee shop?
Ah yes, coffee. The stuff of the devil. Forgive me for inviting you to drink coffee. That is my go-to line when attempting to get together with someone. Funny, at most coffee shops there are other items served. There is even food. Unless going into a coffee shop altogether is sinful?
It sound like you are using your religion to hide. From me. Does this statement offend you? Then prove me wrong. Please.
The four of us are raising a child together. We are each responsible for his well being and his future. While we will never do it perfectly and there are times when I don’t even parent well, we must put our own selves aside for his benefit. At least long enough to sit in a room and discuss an issue surrounding a little person we all claim to love.
“Claim to love.” I say this because I don’t see love in your actions. As you are actively encouraging Michael to be a quitter, I don’t see love in that. When you refuse to even have a conversation with me about our son, I don’t see how you are loving him in that.
Honest time: I don’t want to talk to you either. I don’t want to see you. I would like to pretend you don’t exist. I don’t even think highly of you based on the things you say to me. But every day I am putting my angry, frustrated feelings aside and cling to the hope that at some point we can all put our son ahead of ourselves. This means learning how to be a better parent. This means making difficult choices – sometimes FOR him. This means we have to be honest with each other in a kind way.
There is no “co” in our parenting. There is simply no communication. When I text, I rarely recieve a response. When I call, I usually get forwarded to voice mail. When I try to get together, I’m told “no.” This is not co-parenting. I struggle with this because we are all better than this! You both are good people. You’re Mormon for crying out loud! Mormons are supposed to have strong moral and family values. I bring up Mormonism becauase of how often it is thrown in my face. I don’t understand the Mormon religion, I’ll be honest. You have made it all the more confusing for me.
My intention with this letter is not to berate but simply share where my frustrations occur in the warped situation we are in. Others tell me often that none of this will change. We will never be able to overcome our obstacles. It’s painful for me to hear these things because I can see how we can be better. I can see how I can be better. So, today, I will be better. You probably won’t see it, but it’s happening anyways.
Feel free to call anytime. I would also love to get together. Whatever it is that you drink or eat or do, I can be there.
With best intentions,