Expectations and Crutches

I often ponder what happened to my family of origin.  I haven’t even begun to make sense of it all.  I carry it with me every moment of the day just under the surface.  I’ve gotten pretty good at accepting that my father has never really loved me.  I don’t believe he’s capable, so it makes it easier to live with.  Well, easier to live with than thinking I’m just not worth it or believing that I did something worthy of complete rejection by the people who brought me into the world.

I had something happen a few days ago at work that really threw me for a loop.  First, let me go back to Tuesday.  I had a rough meeting with a parent of one of my students.  So, I went back to my classroom feeling a bit melancholy.  I decided that I needed to do something productive instead of being gloomy, so I brought up my kiddos contact information and starting at the top of the list, I called every student’s parent in my class.  I got to talk to all but 3 of them.  It was really great being able to honestly share with all of these sweet parents just how blessed I feel to be able to share this school year with their precious babies.  I left the school just an hour and a half later with a whole new attitude.

The following afternoon, at our regular staff meeting, our awesome principal announced that we were to all go to our classrooms and call as many parents as we could to tell them something honest and wonderful about their child.  – At first I was flustered because I had just done this the day before…  Then I was excited because I figured after I called the 3 parents I missed the day before, I would have a few minutes to check papers or something – Yep, sometimes I am that pitiful…

So, I reached two of the three parents, had really nice conversations with each of them and then the staff returned to the meeting to share out.  Apparently this is an annual thing at my new school and while teachers call students’ parents, the administrators call the teachers’ parents.  The stories were adorable: cute dad’s proudly talking on and on about their daughters, mom’s initially being worried when the school called and then agreeing that their adult child was amazing, etc.  I found myself stuck in this vortex of loving to hear how loved my coworkers are by their moms and dads, feeling envious of how proud their parents are of them, and a little panicked that they somehow found my parents’ number and talked to one of them.  The second conflict in my mind (and heart) was hoping my father didn’t answer the phone and say something awful, while secretly wishing my parents could hear that I am a pretty good teacher and feel a little proud of me.

It took all the self-control I had just to stay in my seat and not allow any tears to show.  Even though no one in the room, except my sweet husband knows my parents haven’t spoken to me in over 4 years, I sat there knowing I had no parents who would welcome a call about their daughter.  When I read those sweet quotes on sites like facebook that say things about spending time with your parents if you are blessed enough to still have them here, I always feel a twinge of grief.  I don’t have to hide my feelings when I see those because it’s just me and the computer.  The other day, in my staff meeting, was a whole other animal.  As much as I don’t enjoy being caught off guard about my relationship with my parents and risking making a complete fool of myself, I am thankful for a chance to re-examine how I feel and not continually stuff my heartache for such a long time that I risk eventual cancer or a million other terrible illnesses.

I cried myself to sleep Wednesday night.   I had a 20 minute pity party Thursday night.  I haven’t been sleeping very well for the last few weeks, so that makes me a bit overly sensitive, I know, but I’m also just sad.  It’s okay for me to embrace how heartbroken I am.  I can do it just a bit now and then, but then it’s time to put it away, folded up neatly and tucked away again just under the surface.

I went to see the movie, “This is Where I Leave You,” today.  The family was full of disfunctional members.  They reminded me of how most families I know are made up of people who have junk and how necessary grace is.  Sometimes I wonder if my expectations are too high or if I take things too personally and that’s why I’m estranged from part of my family of origin.  Other times I wonder what took me so long to insist on respect.  I believe with my whole heart that healthy boundaries are as necessary as grace.  I struggle with locating the line between grace and respect and doormat and bitch.  I struggle with knowing that I may never make peace with or really be loved by my parents.  I’m not sure how I’ll walk through that one day…

You see it’s always just below the surface…

2 Comments on “Expectations and Crutches

  1. I was thinking about this today as we watched yet another sad dysfunctional family deal with grief and loss. I have no solution that can ease your pain, but I am certain of one thing….God has made you so much better for it and I’m the beneficiary of that perfection. I truly believe we would not have made it this far had it not been for your love and grace which God has molded into you with your pain at the core. You are my hero and I know that you were sent here to save me. Without you is be lost. You are my world and I’m glad that He sent you to me. Any other circumstance may have taken you far from me in this life. I don’t celebrate your pain, but, I relish the person you are because of it. I love you with all my heart.

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. Mrs. Ojeda, I have no words to ease your pain either, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason and although I have no idea what happened with your parents, I am sure that one day you will be able to understand why it did or why your dad is the way he is. Most men are difficult to understand anyways, but I would like to think it is his loss because he is missing out on his amazing daughter. It may not be anytime soon that you can understand it, or maybe never, but I would love to thank your parents for giving you to all of us! You are such a blessing to so many of us. My mom and I just talked about you on Thursday, after my teacher conference. Sammy has been so lucky to have such wonderful teachers, but I strongly believe that you are what helped mold him into the boy he is and the boy he is turning into every day. He didn’t know much of anything when he entered kinder, but you always had so much patience with him and more than anything, you LOVED him, as you do all of the kids. He is now exceeding everyone’s expectations in his academics. It is just amazing. You will have to go by Mrs. Douglas’ room and look at his journal where he writes every day. Even when he is at home, he is always writing stories, or letters, or just his own little diary. I am just so proud of him. He loves reading. He reads constantly. He is checking out 4th grade books and taking AR tests on them. For Christmas, he told my sister today when she asked him what he wanted, he said lots of books! I am so thankful that you were his kindergarten teacher. You and Mr. Ojeda instilled in him the love of learning. You are such a special person with a beautiful heart, with open arms to love everyone. There’s a reason for the struggles you go through, there has to be. We just have to have faith that it will get better. Nobody’s lives are perfect and if they say they are, they are lying. Nobody’s families are perfect, and that is for sure!!! The more people you open up to, the more you find out how many people have problems similar to your own, but you would never know it from the outside, just like we would never know whats going on with you. Again, you are a wonderful person, the best teacher, I know you are a great mom and wife, friend, etc. The word that comes to mind when I think of you is angel. You are an angel to so many…..its okay to have hard days. We all do. Just don’t stay down too long. We would miss that pretty smile and those awesome hugs. Love you and I am so glad that we are blessed enough to know you!!!


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