My Best Friend Snoopy
It’s shortly after 7pm and I’m sitting here watching or trying not to watch my husband pack for yet another trip overseas. It never gets any easier, no matter how many times he has done this over the course of our marriage.
I cannot quite capture the range of emotions that I go through when the time comes for him to go away. You see, I’m a product of, how shall I say..a dysfunctional childhood. I carry around a lot of old baggage of abandonment, baggage that quite frankly I wish would go find it’s way to someone else’s doorstep or closet or wherever it feels most comfortable. When I was a little girl, probably around the age of 3 years old, my mother decided that it would be best that I go live with my father, apparently at the time she felt that he could do a much better job than she ever could at raising me. I mean, you know, because as she says, she could hardly take care of herself let alone a small child like myself.
The day my mother left me was a day that I often play over and over again in my head. My father was just dropping me off after a visit with him, I remember him pulling up into our/her driveway and her walking out the door to greet us with something in her hand, but she had it hid behind her back. My father was holding me in his arms and she walked up and pulled out this huge Snoopy doll. You see, at the time I loved Snoopy, Snoopy was everything to me, and little did I know he would be the one constant in my life from then on out. I remember taking Snoopy and hugging it and of course, really had no idea what was going on. My father left and we walked inside, the next thing I knew I was in her car and before I knew it, I was at my grandparents house and it was dark out.
We walked in and I don’t recall seeing my grandparents. My mother lifted me up onto the counter and she was crying. I was still clutching my Snoopy doll, and she handed me a picture of her and I together and she also handed me her Simon game (do you remember that game?). Let me first say that her Simon game was something that I was never allowed to play with, yet here she was giving it to me. She kissed me and told me that someday she would explain everything to me and that she loved me, and then she was gone. I was still sitting on the counter and I remember crying, because even at 3, I knew something was wrong.
My grandfather walked in (Opa) and he pulled me from the counter and I can remember crying and crying and crying. He walked me into the living room and took the picture from my hand, the picture that I was holding onto for dear life, the picture that was the only thing left that I had from my mother, well that and Snoopy and that dumb Simon game. I remember him reading the back of the picture to me, but yet I cannot recall the words, because they were just words amidst my crying and sobbing. “I want my mommy..I want my mommy”. My grandfather was pacing back and forth..for the love of Christ, how the hell do you comfort a child who’s mother just walked out on them? How do you tell them that it is going to be okay, when the one person in their life just left them? How do you look down into a set of deep dark brown eyes and tell them that their mother will not be coming back for them? The mother is supposed to be the one constant in a child’s life, who’s hugs are supposed to fix everything that has gone wrong in their day.. Who is supposed to be the one who picks you up when you fall..Who’s smile should be the last thing you see before you close your eyes at night.
I cannot begin to describe the range of emotions that I went through that day and every hour/day/week year after that. Dinah came to visit me every once and again and I spent the whole time crying, instead of being happy to see her, all I could do was cry, why? Because I knew I’d only have to say good-bye to her in a short amount of time. I never wanted to let her go, I wanted to hold her and beg her to please not leave me, to please take me with her, to please love me and I promise that I will never do anything bad again..if only..if only I could go with her. Doesn’t she not love me? How could she not love me? How? How could she look at me and walk away from me? I look just like her. I talk just like her. She is my mother. If she could walk away from me, then how, how could anyone else in my life want to stay with me? How could anyone else really love me in my life?
and so..began the cycle..the push you before you push me cycle. Year after year, brick after brick the wall around my heart and my soul became bullet proof. I became scared, scared of everything that love stood for, I questioned everybody’s intentions. Why were they in my life? What could they possibly want with me? I had nothing to offer, shit, my own mother saw nothing worthwhile in me. Go away! GO AWAY! I will hurt you and I will push you so that you won’t want to be a part of my life. There is nothing to see here…move along. This cycle played out in my life for many many years. I have had my relationships, whether it be friendships or boyfriends and as I figured, nothing ever lasted. For some reason, people were drawn to me and it made my skin crawl, they were getting to close, they were beginning to want me to reciprocate the emotions, the feelings. I could barely breathe at the thought of having to show anyone how much they meant to me. It was a constant, GO AWAY! No! please don’t leave me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted and I was angry.
Then came Greg, by that time I had my share of failed relationships and I wasn’t really looking for anything, but for whatever reason, the minute I saw him and talked to him, I knew. I just knew. Time went on and we became more and more friendly and I was already in love with him and that terrified me. Terrified me. There was something different about him, no matter how hard I pushed him and boy did I push, he pushed right back. I don’t think he really knew what to do with me, but I knew he loved me as much as I loved him. We fought a lot in the early stages and it was purely due to the fact that I kept pushing and pushing and dammit he wouldn’t leave! What the hell is wrong with this guy? He loved me, that was the problem.
My husband and I have been through more shit than people who have been married for years have been through, believe me when I say this. We have made it through the worst storms that God has thrown our way. We handled it and it was not always pretty, and sometimes it was downright scary. I’m a hard person to live with, because you see, I still push. I still test boundaries, because I’ve been conditioned from a very early age that nothing is ever really permanent and that people do leave. I still question why he is with me.. yes, I ask him this on the worst of my days. I wonder what he sees in me, does he think I’m funny? Does he think I’m beautiful and pretty and cute? Do I make him laugh? Am I all that he thought I would be? Does he think I’m a good mother to our children?…but mostly, I wonder sometimes out loud, sometimes quietly, if he is going to leave me.
So by now, his suitcase is packed and here I sit and I silently wonder if he will come back to me after this trip..just like I do every time he packs his suitcase to leave. It’s never easy for me, because I deal with the whole other range of emotions. I panic, I get scared, I turn into the little girl sitting on the counter holding on to her Snoopy doll for dear life..wondering if I’m worth it enough to come back to..because in my heart I will always be that little girl that was left alone on the counter…my husband has filled a void in my life that I don’t even think he realizes he signed up for.
Sometimes I think I need a new Snoopy doll..because Snoopy made things a little easier on my heart.