Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Solstice

The summer solstice. Each year I think about doing something to celebrate or recognize it. I read about others' rituals, parties, and remembrances, and I think it would be nice to participate in that somehow.

But then again it comes in the early summer, and early summer and I are not friends.

This year the summer solstice found me meeting up with some folks I hadn't seen in awhile. My parents. Together. 

I have a difficult relationship with them. I limit my interactions with them for my own sanity. This is made even more difficult because we live close geographically (about 15 minutes apart), and most people I know, know them as well.

Emily Wierenga posted a blog the other day entitled How to write a memoir without hurting your family. I was really excited to get some input and ideas, but her situation is different from mine. I'm still trying to figure mine out.

But I digress. 

Summer solstice was this past Saturday, and I found myself scheduled to cook dinner for some people and to meet my parents to celebrate my dad's birthday. I was not a happy camper, although I had made a conscious, thoughtful decision to test the waters in this way.

I made plans, but ultimately resorted to past coping skills to get through what had to be done. I threw together a casserole and salad from what I had on hand for the dinner which my husband was delivering. I showered and dressed in comfortable clothing, and planned on beating my parents to the restaurant.

I pulled into the parking lot, scanning for their car. I didn't see it, so I headed into the restaurant. I looked through the front window and saw them sitting at the center table. A table I would never have chosen. 

We greeted each other warmly (as warmly as we do -- always some underlying unease on both sides). We chatted. We ordered. We ate. My head began to pound. 

Why? Nothing was going wrong per se. It was just all the same. I invoked my standard coping mechanism that I use with my mother. She is a nice older woman, and I am doing this for her, or in this case for them, and I got through the rest of lunch. 

I left, took 2 ibuprofen, and headed for my reward -- a mani/pedi. I hardly said a word the whole time I was there, as I was fighting the need to lay my head down on the table and sleep.

When I got home, my husband was there to pick up the food. We chatted a bit about my lunch date. He asked (again) why I do this to myself. I tried to explain, but acknowledged that clearly I'm not ready for this yet. 

Once he left I collapsed on the sofa, watched TV, and slept -- typical coping mechanisms for me.

I really need to get planning on next year's summer solstice!

linking up with Writer's Workshop


3 comments:

  1. Your relationship with your parents sounds as if it may be a bit like mine. My hubby is always telling me I needn't put myself through it...yet they are family and I do. I'm stopping by from Mama Kat's. You can find me at www.rachelsblogdotcom.blogspot.com

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  2. It can be difficult to let go of the trauma from our past. We think we've done so, but a lot of times we just shove it to the back of the closet and hope it stays there. As you said, it's a coping mechanism, but it takes a conscious effort every day to let things go. I'm still working on it myself. Maybe your solstice celebration should involve writing down what you fear or what you're still holding onto and then burning it to ash so that it floats away on the wind?

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  3. I collapse when I've mentally over extended myself too. I feel like having a strained relationship with my mom would just make me sad. Parents have such a strong influence on our lives...they should be the strongest relationships. I'm glad you've found people and methods to help cope with that void.

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