Tonight’s my birthday dinner with Lexi, my youngest daughter, and Caroline, my ex. Lexi’s in town to meet with Capital One, where she’s been offered an internship this summer.
I picked her up at the airport this afternoon. On the drive home we caught up. She told me about her junior year in college, the internships she’s pursuing, etc. I told her about my growing interest in Buddhism.
Her first question was, “Are you going to convert?”
I explained being drawn to Buddhism as a philosophy, not a religion. I didn’t ask what she thought I might be converting from, having been a rabid agnostic most of my life.
I talked about my compassion for myself, and others.
I was about to apologize for the shit I put her through when I was in my darkest place. I wasn’t physically abusive. It kills me to say this, but I may have been emotionally abusive. The self-hatred I felt seeped into all my relationships.
During the drive home, I was about to apologize to Lexi, but I stopped. She had two video interviews scheduled in an hour. I worried opening up so honestly might be too overwhelming.
I’m waiting for Caroline and Lexi to pick me up in fifteen minutes. I am using a variety of techniques to stay calm. I’ve meditated. I thought about my mantra, “respond, don’t react.”
The one thing I’m not doing is drinking. Now or at dinner. I won’t talk about it. I’m just going to do it. I’m fairly certain that’ll make the evening that much easier to get through.
It went great! Dinner was comfortable. Everyone got along. In short, I don’t think it could have gone any better.
Lexi pushed my buttons twice. I didn’t react. I responded. Gently. I recalled when Caroline and I were married. I always envied her ability to ignore her sense of self and rely on the mantra, “choose your battles.”
Now, my mantra is, “don’t battle.” Focused on rebuilding relationships, I maintain faith that my daughters will recognize how different their father is from who he once was.
That is all that matters.
About The Photo
When building the DC metro system, the designers worried how steep the escalators were. To make the descent apear less perilous, “seams” were added into the concrete ceilings that visually help you feel you’re more upright. The actual seams alone, would make you feel like you’re on the verge of tumbling over.
It is remarkable how sometimes a mere illusion can give you an actual sense of stability.
(I hope the picture makes sense. It might be something you need to actually see to appreciate.)
Stay in touch. Connect.
PS I was going to post a My Dinner With Andre clip but it is such a heavy movie. Instead, here’s a scene from Waiting For Guffman.