“I just settled all my lawsuits/fuck you Debbie”

Franny came home last night after a three day weekend. SeaFed has been dropping her off early at his convenience if he’s in Seattle, which is great with me. This is in lieu of dropping her off on Monday mornings. When she came home I was watching an episode of Mad Men, which Franny has been calling The Combed Hair Man Show for many years when she catches glimpses of it. I like this, because it’s like the bad Icelandic translation or something. I try to just let her drop back into our lives naturally when she comes back and she flopped down next to me on the couch.

SeaFed got his Yahoo! account jacked by Russians in June of last year. So, let us bear in mind that that happened nineish months ago.

When TV was over and things were winding down, I could tell Frannie wanted to talk.

“My dad said something weird this weekend,” she said.


“Yeah. He was really surprised when you texted him that I was coming on Thursday night.”

“But it was a three-day weekend. When it’s his weekend he gets that extra holiday. You mean he didn’t know you were coming?”

“He said he had to scramble to get into the car and pick me up. He also told me that if you would have told him that I had Friday off, he could have taken me on a trip with his family that he came back from on Thursday.” This man who cannot afford to pay for the new GAL is taking midweek vacations now.

“But, BUT,” I sputtered.

“I KNOW,” she said. “He said that he has not given his new email to the school yet.”

“Well, not to mention the fact that the school calendar is publicly available on the website. Maybe I should suggest that he locate the calendar.”

“You can do what you want. But if you contact him about this, he will say I’m making it up. And then he’ll talk to me about it when I see him again.” The word “talk” had a thick undertone of “OH PLEASE GOD NO.” Her shoulders slumped.

“Hmm, ok.” I was quiet then. “Let me get this straight. He did not know you were coming on Thursday. He does not know what the school calendar says. The school does not have his email address. And somehow this is all my fault?”

She rolled her eyes and nodded. “He blames you every time he does something like this, Mom.”

We talked for quite a while longer. She is deeply sad about her relationship with him, and I think he has no concept of that. In keeping with my Star Trek theme above, it’s quite a paradox that such an epic bullshit peddler had a child who is basically Deanna Troi.

The real sucks part is that much like when I was younger and with him, she is trying to blame herself for the lack of intimacy and substance of their relationship. I think she thinks if they could only bridge the gap somehow she could break in to some inner sanctum, that, believe me, is not there. There are no depths to plumb. I see her shouting into the void to no avail. I spent about an hour telling her that she is an awesome person to know. She thinks his concept of her is “here is my daughter who likes art.”

“Do you think I’m a cool person?” I asked her, gesturing at myself like I was some Bob Barker showcase shit. “Not a cool mom, but a decent person? Look at all the things I have going on. I write, I cook, I’m smart, I have a sense of humor, I can hold down a job, I can take care of you and your sister.” She nodded. “Your dad found me TOTALLY UNINTERESTING. ME. You’re his kid, and you have both of our best parts. You’re probably going to grow up to be a cooler person than me. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.”

She took this in. “My dad has cool parts?”

“Yes, look. Imagine a gloppy lake. That is your dad.” She laughed. “There are some like, carrots and Legos and a unicorn horn floating around it. When you happened, that lake got dredged and the cool parts got pulled out. Really. Your dad had potential, which he was not able to achieve. Just because he does not use his cool parts does not mean they are not there. And they were available for you. And I am glad. I’m sorry you cannot connect with your dad. I couldn’t either.”

“Yeah. I try, I just can’t. It makes me feel like I don’t care anymore. It’s always the same and I get depressed.”

“Let me tell you a story,” I said. “When I first went to live with my mom, we got kittens. We thought they were boys, but it turns out they were brother and sister. She didn’t have them fixed…”

“Uh oh.”

“I know! So they started spraying all over the house and humping each other.”


“This is what unfixed cats do,” I said. “So she got rid of them. Then she got three more cats, and got pregnant with Auntie Morgan, and got rid of them also with the pregnancy as an excuse. And I got my own cat after that. She was very sweet. Her name was Jade…she was a tuxedo cat with green eyes. She left my stepdad for the second or third time or whatever and we had to get rid of her before we ran away. Then one time we were living in an apartment by ourselves and the girl in the downstairs apartment had to give up her cat, and my mother took the cat.”

“That’s something I really don’t like about Grandma…nothing is permanent for her,” Franny said.

“Well, nothing is permanent in life. But some people are better at stability than others. I hear you. So, this cat, let me tell you. I did not touch it, I did not look at it. I was very sad. I loved all those cats. And sure enough, that cat went away. I don’t think it was really less painful to ignore the cat than it was to love it and experience the loss of it. It was just different. And I learned something about myself.”

“What’s that?”

“I didn’t want to be the kind of person who shut myself off. I wanted to feel things. What I didn’t know then was that I needed to get to a safe environment to do that. The way I grew up was not so good for it being safe to attach to things or people. But YOU. You have me. You have us. I have you. I am not going anywhere. Nothing in this house is. Don’t cut yourself off from feeling, no matter how much it sounds like relief. If you are being blocked from the light, find a different direction to grow in.”

She nodded. She is so sad. I hid my sadness as best I could at her age because I knew no one really cared. I’m glad that recently she’s become open to the idea of therapy. I am hoping that speaking to a professional will help her find ways to cope with her pain and tease a manageable relationship out of the situation with her dad. I decided not to raise my children in the environment I was raised in, and hooray, I am not mentally ill like some people I was exposed to, but I feel like I’ve handed her a new plate of crap. I would let her lay eggs in my corpse if I could get her out of one second of feeling a lack of connection with her father. Until I can find that devil’s bargain to sign off on, BABY STEPS.

P.S. Heading down to the courthouse this morning to file a small claim. WOW I love the courthouse NOT AT ALL. I’ll let you know how that shakes out.

17 thoughts on ““I just settled all my lawsuits/fuck you Debbie”

  1. I’ve never wanted to comment about SeaFed because it’s not my place, but what a loser. He’s got a grrrrreat kid like Franny and he can’t connect? Eff him.

    It is so beautiful that you are there to have talks like this with her. I am snifflingingning over here.

  2. holy shite lady, you are inspiring me too as a mom, as a kid, as a person of earth. Franny is so lucky that you are her mom, I am not kidding here. If Franny had the sad luck (from the ethers) to pull SeaFed as her dad, at the very least she got you as her mother, to help even the score. Your work is cut out for you in this arena, but you got the mad skillz to help out. Good for you lady!

  3. How do you make me laugh and cry at the same time? You are so amazing (and I know I’ve said this before, BUT STILL). I wish all hurty, sad little girls in the world had a YOU in their lives.

  4. I have a relationship with my dad like the one you describe between Franny and SeaFed – me always trying to reach over this yawning chasm to make connection only to be reminded YET AGAIN that there is not a person on the other side.

    I didn’t figure it out until I was in my 20s. Franny has you to help her figure it out much sooner, so it will do less damage and she can make peace with it in a better way.

    You should be proud – you’ve raised a beautiful young lady (and another beautiful girl on top of it), and you are doing all the right things.

  5. Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. I appreciate this. Longest marathon ever.

    Allison: I am trying to help her, but at her own pace. I am ever-optimistic and was hoping she could be happy with their relationship for what it was, but she started cluing in that things were off when she was around 10 (there’s the high emotional IQ thing, she’s lucky). I never said to her what I think a diagnosis might actually be, and I still have not. I respond to her when she raises issues and sometimes I tell her my experience was similar. “Making peace” is a great term–that’s what I’m trying to help her with.

  6. “Don’t cut yourself off from feeling, no matter how much it sounds like relief. If you are being blocked from the light, find a different direction to grow in.”

    If I could embroider anything on a pillow this would be it. Fanny is lucky that she has you in her life to give her this. I’m sorry you had to learn it so young though.

  7. I just want to say that I think The Combed Hair Man Show is pretty much the most wonderful thing I’ve heard today.

  8. So well put! Franny is lucky to have such a strong mom. I wish a million things about my childhood, the most being that I would have been able to express myself without being told I was wrong for feeling the way I did. Its so wonderful your daughter is comfortable enough to tell you all the things that she did and that you could have a dialogue about it. How many other moms would have shut it down with a snarky comment about Seafed and dropped the subject?

  9. Oh man, I wish you were my mom. Franny is a lucky kid to have you in her life. You’re a lucky gal to have Franny in yours, SeaFed is an idiot to not realize how cool she is.

  10. You don’t know what you’re saving your daughter from by having these conversations. Or maybe you do. My dad was a good guy, but he was a guy of his time, born during WWI, fought in WWII. So not exactly Mr Warm and Fuzzy. When puberty hit, I immediately started looking for the man to love me, a journey that took 30+ years and went through many dark valleys filled with self-loathing. Now I am just content to have found peace with myself and myself only. I hope your girlie can hear your words and feel your love and avoid that kind of gloppy laked journey.

  11. You’re awesome. I’m sad my layover didn’t last longer in Seattle. Looking forward to the next time I get to hang out with the gang.

  12. Wow. That was really lovely. Franny is a great kid, and she is so lucky to have you as her mom.

  13. I am so glad Franny can talk to you. It is really hard when you are her age to go through something like that and have no one to talk to.

  14. You *know* this, but I’m going to say it anyway: just having a parent who takes what she is feeling and what is happening to her seriously — who acts like she matters as a human being — that is so much.

    You’re doing such a good job.

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