Thursday, August 11, 2011

Trojan Horses

I had a boyfriend in college.  With the advantage of lots and lots of years of hindsight, I can tell you that he was a nice guy, but not a terribly good boyfriend.  He had a routine for handling his many indiscretions.  He would bring me a red rose, look at me with sincere regret, and announce, "the bottom line is, I love you and I don't want to lose you."  He was a bottom line kind of guy.  Then he would tell me what he'd done and we would both cry and I would forgive him and life would go on until the next chippy turned his head.  It got to the point where my stomach would clench in a Pavlovian response every time I saw him approaching my house with a rose.

We broke up shortly before graduation - the last chippy to turn his head turned it real good.  When I went back to my house after the ceremony, I found a red rose on my desk and a note that said, "I'll always love you."  I didn't stop crying for days.  I knew what red roses meant.

I find myself experiencing that same sense of dread now when I come home from the grocery store and my eldest helps me unload and put away the groceries without being asked.  It almost never ends well.  I can almost see the red rose in her hand in place of the canvas shopping bag.  I keep expecting her to say, "the bottom line is, Mom....." She doesn't - how creepy would that be? - but something is usually still said.  Oh yes, something is said.

Trojan horses, right?  It looks like I'm getting something good, and when I let my defenses down, I get annihilated.

That boy grew up.  He married the final chippy.  I like to think he takes her flowers from time to time, and that they mean nothing more than - "I love you".  My girl will grow up, too.  The grocery bag confessions will turn into funny stories we tell around the table when her kids are teens.

Till then, I guess I'll just need to remind myself to slow down every now and then and regain perspective.  I won't stop to smell the roses, though.  And that?  Is the bottom line.


Unknown said...

Great post! I hope those bouts with your daughter do turn into funny 'round the dinner table stories down the road. We have tons of those at my house!

Mike said...

so what you are basically saying is that life sucks? lol

seems that a person can never let their guard down without getting pummeled!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I know that feeling well and spend far too much time myself waiting the for the other shoe to drop. But know, kids grow up and they become far, far easier-- Just like we did for our parents.

xoxo jj

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

With the bad boyfriend, things didn't change for you. But with your daughter, she will mature and your relationship will get better. That's why it's worth renewing your own perspective and reminding her how much you love her, no matter what. But you knew that!