Once upon a time, I was a happily married mother-of-two in a kinder, gentler world. Perhaps that was during the age of George Herbert Walker Bush. Although I see myself politically as left of center, he was a reasonable president, a decent, respectable man. I wasn’t afraid to walk out my home. I had no fear of strangers. Striking up a conversation about current events didn’t evoke anger.
While raising my children, it was my intention for them to become well educated, learn how to make their own decisions, gain tolerance and love, develop critical thinking skills and make the world a better place just by being in it.
For the longest time, my only childhood dreams were thriving. You see, unlike most of my friends, I never had any fantasies or dreams about becoming the next Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barbara Walters, Barbra Streisand or Marie Curie. I really had no desire to pursue any kind of long term career. I wanted only ever to be a mom, and then later, a grandmother.
Please don’t misinterpret the previous paragraph. I do have many talents and abilities. I spent 40 years in the workforce in the apparel industry as well as the not for profit industry. I honed my skills in sales, marketing, public relations, and writing. In college, I did major in journalism with a minor in theater, graduating Magna Cum Laude. I do love acting and singing. I play the piano and the guitar. I’ve published four novels and am currently working on a musical comedy.
My children have grown now. They’ve been gone from the nest for a good 15 years. While my husband and I went through some growing pains getting used to it just being the two of us, I believe that today, we are happier with each other than ever, except for a few minor issues. And as you will see, those issues may have well created the problems we have now as a family.
It is no longer that kinder gentler world that I was talking about. I mentioned that I was a little left of center. Somehow both of my children went the opposite way. That’s OK with me. They have the right to have their own political views. They must get that from their father who is a staunch conservative. After all, they do say that opposites attract. He eats his meat well done and I eat mine rare.
My husband and I, along with my aging mother, recently moved to be closer to my son and his burgeoning family. In the short time that we’ve been here, I have been verbally attacked at a grocery store for wearing a mask. I won’t repeat the language used, but suffice it to say that I was called an idiot (with a qualifying adjective prior to it). Why I was wearing a mask was none of her business. Seems you can’t talk to strangers anymore. And that’s sad.
Every house on this block has an alarm system. When I was growing up, we didn’t even lock the doors when we went out to play. I would leave in the morning on a Saturday morning and come back as the sun was setting for dinner and my parents never worried where I was and what I was doing. Now, some parents use tracking devices on their kids. And isn’t that sad.
What once was a fun kind of way to keep in touch with old friends and family, the internet has become a volatile, dangerous place. If anybody has a question as to what I’m talking about, it’s social media in general, and Facebook specifically. Funny that they changed their name. It won’t fix the damage that they’ve done with their algorithms and their fake and inflammatory viral posts that now have normally nice people full of anger and hate.
In my heart, I truly believe that my family members have become victims of these vile algorithms and viral conspiracy theories. As a result I have lost my daughter. While I knew her politics were way far to the right she has been swept up in conspiracy theories and lies, including the big lie. She has not spoken to me in any consequential way since the 2020 election, having blocked me on Facebook and having changed her email address. She doesn’t answer my calls or respond to my texts. I have no way of reaching her because she doesn’t want hear from me. When my husband tried to intercede, he was told it was none of his business and she hung up on him. Just last week, she called my mother to wish her a happy birthday. In my mother’s attempt to pacify the situation, my daughter told her that their relationship has nothing to do with her mother, and then she brazenly hung up on my mother. That was inexcusable. This kind of behavior, I believe, is a direct result watching, reading and listening to hateful rhetoric of the far right. It is not, I repeat not, what she learned growing up. It is not what she is taught in her religion I her clergy. She used to be the most huggable, loving and tolerant child.
I recently sent her one last attempt at bridging this gap. I suggested to her that she make a list of all the terrible things I represent to her, and a list of all the wonderful things she remembers from growing up in this family, see which list is longer and which has more value to her. I still got no response. I don’t know if I will ever see her again or hear from her. She is carrying her second child, and her first child doesn’t even know who I am. All of this vitriol I blame on Donald Trump and far right conspiracy theorists. And isn’t that sad.
Life is short. Shorter than we ever know. I personally know that I have a whole lot less time in front of me then I do behind me. I can’t waste another tear or another sleepless night over all of this. I plan to drink in what’s left of my life in joy and happiness. Funny though, my daughter’s middle name was joy until she changed it. And isn’t that sad