Monday, April 05, 2004
I think about you all of the time, but I try to find things to distract me from missing you. I write silly things here, I publish photos of day trips here, all in the hope of letting you know that I still love you and miss you, and to distract me from the pain of having lost you.
I also publish all of those things to keep me from focusing on the sadness that I feel because you were ripped out of a family life and forced to spend the last four years with a stranger of your mother's even stranger choice. The family life you were ripped out of was a shell, but at least was a familiar shelter for you.
I don't even know if you read this. I keep writing because I love you and want you to know that I've never stopped loving you. From what you said in your last letter, you are not being given all of the letters I've written to you. The fact that your last letter was written BEFORE my birthday, but not mailed by your mother until MARCH 1, 2004 tells me that she is enforcing an unnatural, unhealthy level of control over you at a time in your life when normal parents are well into the process of allowing their children MORE control over their lives.
She used to complain about how repressive her own parents were........and now she has become more repressive than they ever were.
I apologize to you for not being there. Your mother made it impossible for me to be there. Her lies and deceit made it possible for her to legally kidnap you but I apologize nonetheless. Your mother said that she was afraid that I "might strike her", but I've learned that she was doing things behind my back for which she felt any person should be stricken. Maybe God takes care of things like that, not me. I'm not a person who has ever done anything like that.
A girl should have the benefit of love and guidance of BOTH parents as she passes through the various stages of growth from infancy to womanhood. I feel so very sad and miserable that I was prevented from being there with you for the last 4 - 5 years.
She has prevented you from sending normal letters, photos, emails, and from making phone calls. She has even prevented you from addressing and mailing the few letters you have sent! I'm sorry that you were subjected to all of that weirdness, and I strongly hope that you will recover from having been subjected to it.
I think about how it must be for you to go through each day with her weirdness as your model for "normalcy", and I hope and pray that you spend time with friends like the Rossetts, who are the most decent, normal, successful people I have EVER known. I don't know if you and Caroline are close. If not, I hope that you are still able to regard your mother as the same person we both knew her to be all those years ago. (Remember when she would decide to throw our things away and we would rescue each other's belongings if we saw them first??)
It is my hope that you are able to put her in her proper perspective as a woman who has serious mental and emotional problems, and detach yourself from her and become your own person. The new guy? Absent....Predictable........Grumpy....and sufficiently full of himself to match her.
She was always too busy for both of us. When you were a child, she had no time for you, but has dedicated her life to erasing me from your life and memory. Since she was never there to do anything with you, I wonder what she thinks will fill the void she has tried to create in you?
Do you remember all of the times she went out selling Girl Scout cookies with you? I don't imagine that you remember all of the times she went out and delivered them either? I know that you must remember the incredibly odd, laborious, and ineffective and inefficient system she devised for organizing OUR delivery!! She wouldn't deliver them with us, but needed to tell us how to do it.
It didn't work, and we had to return to reorganize everything. She was white hot about that.....blaming you and me equally for our inability to figure out whatever defective thinking had led her devise such a scheme. Her willingness to help you went no further than delivering a few boxes to her colleagues at Hawthorn Elementary School.
I came to California to rebuild myself, and to wait until her tyranny over you ended. In my heart, I was dying as she controlled and manipulated you, and our precious time together. Other than to inflict more pain and cruelty on you, she had no reason for not telling you weeks in advance of my announced plan to move to California.
Her insistence on sitting at the table with us on the few occasions we were able to meet, and her need to stay in the room with you and make you use a speakerphone on each of the few times you were permitted to call me were among many things which convinced me that I had to get away from her evil.
She wouldn't allow you to tell me anything about your life, but she tried to monopolize the precious few minutes you and I had by asking me personal questions about my life.....after stating to counselors and lawyers that she wanted NOTHING to do with me ever again....to the point of not even wanting to accept money from me. She had a NEED to know whether she had managed to destroy me, and when I repeatedly asked her why she was interested in the details of my life, she said that she thought that you might want to know. Each time she did that, I told her that you were welcome to ask me ANY question...........privately.
She is remarried now, and I apologize to you for having to have that new person thrown into your life. For the time being, she is getting what she wants, which is frequent, free travel to trendy places. In her mind, she is now a real "Lake Forest rich kid" (despite living in the predominantly blue collar, working class neighborhood of Mundelein. She used to ridicule her mother and Jackie because they had "Lake Forest disease". That's a condition in which working class people suffer when they realize that they are not born into "old money", and are not otherwise rich. They assume the affectations of the Lake Forest people they envy.
The new person she married is an interesting study all by himself. Again, I apologize to you for having had to tolerate him and his ways. Maybe they deserve each other, but I don't believe that anyone "deserves" her cruelties in all of their hidden forms. Since he was complicit in my own undoing, I expect that she will use someone new and try to make his undoing nearly as awful for him when his time comes.
She could have explained her feelings to me, we would have had discussions, probably arguments, and then a divorce, settled fairly, and you and I could have had as normal a relationship as father-daughter as divorce allows. Instead, she had a plan as convoluted and weird as her plans for one of our Spring Break trips to the West coast of Florida, and once a plan is set in her head, she will not allow for any deviation, because it will show her and others that she is capable of being wrong.
We always used to fly Midwest Express to Tampa, rent a car, and drive to Siesta Key.
One year, she decided that it was more chic to fly American Airlines to Miami, and then take a noisy little 2 engine puddle-jumper from Miami to Sarasota, then rent a car and drive to our condo. No amount of logic would dissuade her. Jackie told her that coach in a crowded, late American Airlines plane was more fashionable than first class service aboard Midwest Express. Since Jackie had never flown Midwest Express, she had no idea of anything she was talking about.
Jackie is about "cheap" and manipulation. She and her husband and their witless child flew AA in the coach section, paid for the trips with frequent flier miles she earned from making credit card purchases for things her customers paid her cash for, and when they got to Florida, they stayed in the house she conned her parents into buying, and then bought the things to decorate it using her AA credit card. Once again, she earned more AA frequent flier miles, was paid in cash, and had a free place to stay in Florida. She also never had to rent a car because she would use her parents' car.
Your mother wanted to have a "glamourous Jackie" adventure to Florida too..........
Our AA flight was late departing O'Hare, and late arriving in Miami, and late getting a gate. We had to sit in that plane on the ground for a very long time. Instead of a hot lunch served on real china, we picked up a sandwich bag as we boarded the cramped plane at O'Hare. Our AA plane was late arriving at the gate at O'Hare and late boarding, and late taking off. We had to wait at the airport in Miami for 3 hours for our connecting flight. That flight was also late arriving, late departing, noisy, and crowded. Your mother carried a white Nautica pullover of mine onto the flight since I carried everything else. When the flight landed in Sarasota, she forgot it, but blamed me for being careless.
I observed to her that I still had ALL of the things I had carried......hers, yours, and mine. Somehow.....the loss of that very nice article of clothing was still assigned to me.
A trip which usually took about 6 - 7 hours from start to finish ended up taking an entire day.....about 10 - 12 hours, and we got a beater rental car from the very few which were available at Sarasota. I wonder if you still remember that?
I had to cancel our Midwest Express reservations and car reservations so that your mother could fly the same airline as her friend Jackie did, and that would allow her to feel equal to Jackie. We gave up first class seating on a non-stop flight for a bag lunch in a cramped coach cabin.
When Jackie went to Florida, flew directly into the Ft. Lauderdale airport and was met there by her parents. The fact that we were going to the OTHER side of Florida and that a connecting flight would add HOURS to our "adventure" was lost on your mother. She was determined to fly AA and land on the East side of Florida. The AA tickets cost more than Midwest Express.
I really started this to tell you that I love you, miss you, and will be forever sad that I was prevented from contributing to your life. You are ALWAYS welcome to live with us in La Jolla.
(ps....Morgan is graduating from college in a couple months..........she lived with her very wealthy father and his for about 6 months after he and Laura divorced. That was about all that she could stand.....she flew back to California, lived with her mother, went to college, got a job, and now is ready to graduate..........it CAN be done!!)
I love you Amy