Tigrette's looking for reasons to not like Cliffy
but I tell her over and over again that what happened was an adult mental thing
and had nothing to do with her.
While Tigrette didn't tell me what Cliffy told her, she did say that Cliffy said it wasn't her or my fault but that she didn't have enough to support both me and Tigrette.
I asked Tigrette if she understood and she said yes then asked me what support meant.
I hoped Cliffy could have told her in real words, not therapeutic language.
Instead I had to tell her that some people have trouble giving so much of their energy and heart to another and that it's not necessarily a good or bad thing but that Cliffy just didn't have the capability to really commit to being there for the long-term.
Telling her that helped me a little. I feel incompetent in a lot of ways. I should have known she had this defect. In some ways, my inability to get a response from her when I was sick or my back hurt, even in the beginning of our relationship, should have told me that she had to be in the center.
I grew up in a house where the center/centering person was the one who gave the most and held the idea of family - someone who ensured we all worked the mission statement. In hers, apparently, the centered person is the person with male energy within a dichotomous world.
Cliffy talked about wanting true equality in her relationship but I think she freaked when I didn't take the lead in the way we worked our lives. I left a lot up to her in the mental sphere and let her have her masculine role. I actively did not make choices which would have her be someplace she didn't want to be or doing something she didn't want to do. I deferred, not from some butch/femme mystique, but because I like to work the quiet and detail-oriented aspects of a relationship.
Cliffy's changed me. Inside me, I had again put aside the potential/the vision/the full expression of my capabilities because she could sleep for hours on end, then get up and watch tv, already knowing dinner would be ready. Because she didn't like her job most days but wouldn't look for another. Because she would never leave this town.
I don't want to be held down.
When Cliffy and I got together, we talked about supporting each other. She even suggested that, if my writing had me going somewhere else in the country, she could be supportive and be a parent to Tigrette. She even called her "my daughter" to her co-workers and told me that Tigrette was acting more and more like her. Inside, however, there was always this delay in me - that she might leave or, on a daily basis, that she might feel too sick or achy to give attention to Tigrette. She might choose tv over my child. As a mother, I rarely am able to choose anything over my child, no matter how achy or sick or flustered.
On New Year's Eve, Tigrette and I sat on the patio and watched some fireworks. As it got cold, we came in for hot chocolate and we talked as she sat on my lap. That was the first time in a long time that I've felt calm. Despite Cliffy's quiet demeanor, she always carried this look on her face, like she might run.
How do you explain that to a child? How do you explain fifty years of behavior that makes you loved by many but loving few?