Yesterday was Fox's birthday. I telephoned to wish him a happy one, and we talked for over an hour. During the conversation I said 'I was telling your sister the other day...' and it hit me, it really, really, REALLY hit me - I was having a normal Mum-Son telephone conversation, a conversation so mundane and normal it included the utter normality of mentioning something I'd been talking with his sister about.
Something that happens every day with 'normal' intact families - 'I was telling your sister...' father/brother/cousin/aunt...normal. Mundane. Happens all the time in 'normal families'.
If you've followed this blog from DayOne you'll appreciate how incredible THAT moment of realisation was because really, my family is pretty far from normal. I hope that, any road, because I'd hate to find years long estrangements are the norm for most families! No-one should have to endure what we've endured, and comparatively speaking I do know there's far worse other families endure on a daily basis.
Fox's sister decamped when she was 16 (long story and you, dear reader, would have needed to have been following along for the details. If you're new here, suffice it to say she went to live with her father in Hawaii after I found her boyfriend in her bed one early morning and to distract me they stabbed the waterbed with a steak knife just before he made his escape via bedroom window). Assured by her and her father she hated me forever, I merely made sure she'd be able to find me if she ever wanted to, and then for so many long years I put the hurt and worry away in a private part of my brain and heart. Doing so was the only way to get through each day.
Doing that 'compartmentalisation' with Fox was harder. Not that I loved his sister any less than I did him, by any means. I think the difficulty was Fox was the youngest. When his sister left I still had him to raise. When he went through his 'I hate you and blame you for everything' period there was no other child at home to focus on getting through to adulthood. So the shock of loss was worn a bit closer to the surface than it was when she hated me.
All that is behind us but the scars seem to remain, for me at least. Fox and his sister seem to have no scars - we've talked about since the circle closed and we can all talk again. Both have said 'But you're Mum, of course we feel horrid about the way we acted but we knew you'd always be there so really, we have no scars besides the self-inflicted ones caused by stupid things we did when you weren't there to keep us from the stoopid.' Good to know my children managed to keep their trust in me all those years.
I told Fox's sister, and him yesterday, that sometimes I feel soooooooooooo guilty that I honestly sometimes 'don't know how to act' - if I send a parcel, will it be 'the wrong thing' and cause yet another rejection? If I send a letter will it even find (insert name of adult child here), or will (insert name of adult child here) have moved without letting me know the new posting address/have taken issue and isn't accepting communication? If I email, will (insert...) accept/read/reply? And so I don't send the parcel or letter, and I sit on my typing hands to avoid bombarding them with email.
So, scars. With Fox it's been almost five years since the end of the estrangement and my scars still haven't really healed and it's been less than a year with his sister so of course those scars haven't even begun to heal.
Because last week I was able to talk with my daughter about the issues my scars create, and yesterday the same with Fox. Clearly I need to see that as a step forward, healing-wise.
So, yesterday, last week, normal. Blessed normal. Blessed mundane.