I remember a girl. A very different girl from now. At 19, she had stringy brown hair to the middle of her back and hadn’t yet learned to smile, because she had been a grown up for much too long. She sat the the piano in your dark basement, hardly any lights on, and played a duet with you. She was looking for something, but she didn’t know what back then, 12 years before now. She lifted her hands off the black and white keys, turned to you, and said those fateful words:
“I’m going to marry your son some day.”
What she didn’t know then was that she would also be marrying you. Or maybe she did know. Maybe she knew all along.
They told her she would be the one to sink the marriage rowboat. Her baggage would weigh everything down, destroy everything, if she didn’t take proper care of it. There was no mention of his baggage; there was no mention of you. You would come with your own baggage, a shadow of unspoken pain and regret over the marriage of the boy and the girl while causing years of hurt on a different line of that from their relationship. Or maybe the same line; maybe he learned to cause pain from you.
You painted the girl as someone she wasn’t, so much and so brightly that it became reality in her circumstance. You made her less than. Not good enough. You told her who to be: A good Christian wife. Supportive. Kind. A hard worker. A listener. A right arm to your son, and a left as well when he metaphorically cut both arms off. You told her to be perfect. You built her up. Then you tore her down.
You told her she had failed; you told her she was none of the things she was supposed to be. When she finally left your son, you contacted everyone she was connected to. Told them not to trust her. Told them she would fail. Always. Fail. Again and again. And for quite a while, the girl did fail. For years, she has watched. Waited. Looking for something. For you. When you showed up at work; when you tried to FaceTime; when you stalked her online, she knew. Every three days like clockwork, her profile notified her you were there, still looking. She was afraid of you.
But here’s the thing.
She’s not a failure. She is everything she is supposed to be; she is NONE of the things you pinned on her. She tells herself a new story now, her own story, apart from you and apart from him. She is strong and powerful and loved. She is supportive, but not submissive. She works hard, but she works for herself. She is brave, and she is reaching out to shape her own destiny. She is her own person, making her own decisions.
She is not yours.