The broken hearted

Last night, I sat and listened to my daughter cry on the phone about a boy for almost an hour.  I didn't understand most of what she was saying, but it wasn't important.  My job was to listen, not to understand. 

There's a boy.  And, she has a lot in common with said boy and they are really good friends.  The boy graduates in a month and has big plans to get away; go to some other city for college and leave Austin and his parents behind.  (I knew most of this already).  And, because of that, Sydney isn't interested in being more than friends. 

There's another boy that's gay and likes the first boy.  But, the first boy isn't gay.  The second boy is jealous of how close Syd and boy one are, and like a bitchy queen, he's tearing Syd down to try to get her out of the picture, even though boy one already told boy two he's not gay and not interested.  (thankfully I knew some of this subplot, too.).

They all have a class together, and it's gotten so bad that boy two has made stuff up and told the teacher.  The class was supposed to be a communication class.  That's what we signed Syd up for, but it turned out to be more of a free-form poetry class where they shared lots of emotional stuff, so boy two has lots of hurtful ammunition.  So, a class that Sydney was doing so well in, now she just wants to hide in the corner in the back of the room and not participate. 

I know my girl.  I know she is not guilt free in this situation.  She didn't tell me any of her part, but she has kind of a smart mouth and can lash out like nobody's business. 

But, if you remember back to being a teenager, that doesn't stop it from hurting.

So, I'm sitting there, on the phone with her, listening, and the only message that I can deliver is the message we normally deliver to gay kids, but it's not just a gay lesson.  "It gets better, I promise". 

Yeah, I said it about 53 different ways.  I was very creative that way.  You're between being a child and an adult and the lessons you're learning now will keep you from making those same mistakes as an adult.  Adulthood lasts a lot longer than childhood, so be glad you're learning these lessons now while you still live at home with people that care about you.  At least two old men think you're very special and soon, lots of boys are going to know it, too.  You're about to head out into the world with a job and college and you're going to meet a whole new set of boys; boys that will be the same, but also boys that will be different.  Boys with different priorities.  Boys who have already learned the lessons you're learning now. 

Whatever I could think to say that would be encouraging. 

Sydney doesn't usually talk to me this way.  It was easier to talk to me over the phone than face to face.  I wonder if she'd talk to me if we were both at home, but talking on the phone. 

I was torn between wanting to hug her, and being proud that she would talk to me.  That's work I've done.  Years worth of work.  Paying off.

And, that makes me a proud dad. 

Things in Indiana are a little different.  It got better when I got around my team and we could all talk about what was going on and I wasn't just a floating island out there on my own in a strange place that I was comfortable in.  But, this trip was still a mistake for me personally.  I'm the oldest one and there is too much going on for me.  It's only Wednesday, and I'm exhausted.  One thing I know I'm giving up is team dinners.  They can eat at 9pm, but if I do that, I don't sleep.  And, the rich food is really working a number on my insides.  For breakfast today, I'm planning plain eggs and toast, just to give my stomach a break.  And, tonight, I'll find something plain as well and eat it early and hopefully, I will get a better nights sleep than I did last night. 

The upside is that I can already tell I've lost some weight, and that's a good thing.  Except when I get home and start eating my own cooking again, I'll put it right back on.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  At least I think it's Wednesday.  There is no time to sew or knit.  I almost wish I'd left those things at home because they are just clutter in the suitcase that I can't take anything out of because I'm not in one place long enough. 

And, the driving.  What lovely scenery I'm seeing in Indiana in the spring.  This must be what makes the winters worth it.  Tonight, after a full day of meetings, we have a three hour drive to the next city.  At least that's what the locals told me.  My phone says it's only an hour and 45 minutes.  Y'all, please hope that my phone is right.  I need all of us thinking clear traffic and an easy drive. 

And, I need a fun fact about myself that I can share with strangers and doesn't out me as gay.  See, that's the problem with having to share a fun fact about yourself.  Not everybody has one that they're comfortable sharing.  But, that doesn't stop the gregarious from putting us on the spot.  My theory is that if I wanted you to know, you'd know and I wouldn't be put on the spot trying to come up with something.

Headed to the shower to see if I can come up with a fun fact about me that is work related and not too private. 

See ya'.  Lane


Lakegaldonna said...

You are a good Dad.
You are right about wondering if you would have had such a talk with her if you were at home. Talking is easier over the phone. It still hurts when your child hurts and you do want to hug.
I hope your day goes better. Good luck with the one thing to share with the group. I really dislike those types of exercises.
What city are you traveling to today?

Anonymous said...

Being a parent is always hard. You just have to keep on keeping on. lum

Gisela Suski said...

A fun fact is you love to repair sewing machines.

Mari said...

Oh, Lane! I feel bad for Sydney, both as a mom and as a former teenage girl. The only thing you can do is just keep on loving. It does get better, but that doesn't make it better now. My own kids communicate really well by email, for some reason. Whatever works. Hope your trip goes better and you are back to stitching soon.

Marei said...

I find it easiest to communicate in notes and letters...face to face (with intimate/difficult issues) is always hard. Good for you that Syd is willing to talk with you in whatever fashion. You and Rob are doing a great job. And everything you said is true, but especially the part about it "still hurts". I'm with you on feeling put on the spot to come up with some fun fact about yourself. Those group touchy/feely sessions are ridiculous. Thank God I don't have to participate in any team building crap (yes...it IS crap) anymore. Hang in there. You'll be home soon. Oh brother! I had to pick "cake" samples in order to verify I'm not a robot. Now I want to eat some cake.........ARGH!

Rebecca Grace said...

Lane, my heart goes out to you AND to Syd. As a parent, don't you wish you could just take their hurt away and put it on yourself instead? What you told her is so true, and you're right; it's not just a gay lesson -- it DOES get better. For all that our culture glorifies youth, it really does suck to be young and have your heart broken and not know yet that the right person who will cherish you REALLY IS out there waiting for you. Your daughter is so lucky to have you.

The pressure of the "fun fact" ice breaker is interesting; duly noted. I wonder whether all of your "fun facts" REALLY out you as gay, or whether you just worry that they will? Like, why not just say, "Fun fact, I like to cook." My dad is about as straight as they come, yet he gradually has taken on all the cooking since he retired and he loves it. Or, "Fun fact about me: I hate fun facts. I pass!" Whomever is suggesting this ice-breaker probably has no idea that they make anyone feel uncomfortable. You have every right to share something boring/stupid/barely true, or nothing at all if that's what you're comfortable with. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Maybe if you skip those late night dinners, you might get in a little sewing or knitting before you turn in tonight!

Megan said...

Lane - you and I might be twins. Dislike the business travel and the forced pseudo-intimacy with work colleagues blah blah blah. I've tried various ways to politely not participate over the years, but I've found that participating in a minimalist but cooperative manner is actually easier, doesn't lend itself to comment and misinterpretation, and actually gets me through it with much less angst that trying to make the point that not everyone is an extrovert. So, I think you should come up with something innocuous and just get it over with. Don't concern yourself about how 'fun' your fact is, just make it something that you haven't mentioned in the past and have a two or three sentence 'story' to go with it so that you look like you're being an active contributor, not a spoil sport. For example, I recall that you weren't born in Texas - is that right? Perhaps your 'fun fact' can be a little story about how/why you came to Texas. Or something from high school - that might explain why you hate basketball or why you support a particular football team. Don't concern yourself about the 'fun' aspect - just occupy a couple of minutes with a short story about yourself.

Good luck.

Sydney, Australia

lw said...

Fun fact: I like peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Like Elvis! Food is usually a pretty safe subject.

High school is the best and the worst of times. And the betrayal of people who were friends is the worst. So glad Syd has understanding parents, that makes such a huge difference.

Lyn said...

I think you are a great Dad and gave Sydney some good advice. I wish fathers in my era had been more active in their children's upbringing. Raising kids is a constant challenge (especially a daughter). Keep up the good work!

Carla said...

Fun Fact is you make beautiful quilts
I remember those days of my daughter crying and all I could do is listen and tell her it will be alright and wish I could make the hurt go away and maybe just maybe reach out and touch the one who is hurting her. I wouldn't slap them too silly honest but of course I never did try.