Being home is always a trigger to reflect on My dominance. This week's epiphany is that most of My family tops from tha bottom, or is, as john pithily pointed out, simply passive aggressive. Dad is too often cranky and takes it out verbally on mom, who has learned and taught us, with varying degrees of success, to run his words through a neutralizing filter. When he referred to her as fat and told "funny" story about being unable to lift her out of the new, deep jacuzzi tub, all I could think was: wow, in My life, boyfriends have died for lesser crimes. He does not mean to be cruel, and he did give her the deluxe version of the requested suction cup handle thing to help her in future. I know, because he gave it to Me to wrap.
We attended three church services in 18 hours, which was a bit much and I even skipped the first one. Unfortunately, the big midnight service was not as wonderful as in the past. The choir seemed only half full and the church was not packed. One suspects some combination of the major renovation under way, the new-old preacher, and different music director, is responsible. Personally, I felt the level of musicianship has dropped off. One wonders if there is now a replacement somewhere for this service which has been My go-to for 20+ years. High notes seemed thinner and unsustained. The tempi seemed hurried and insensitive. The congregation's "Thanks be to God!" felt formulaic and uninvested. It was warm and uncomfortably humid and the couple next to Me talked through the entire organ prelude when all others were sit-aware enough to keep quiet. Then dad drove home at midnight through through foggy rain at what seemed - to Me - an excessive rate of speed, as I slipped and slid around on the smooth, bench backseat, with the seatbelt pressing at My throat. It wasn't the uplifting Christmas Eve service that I expected. But I kept it to Myself. Christmas morning service was amateur hour, so I didn't get My sacred fix there either. But I was pleased to see the parents so comfortable and at home in the congregation dad resisted for a decade. Chilly Calvinist doctrinal disagreement finally yielded to the Christian love of the people in their weekly Bible study. Dad was all excited to show Me the church food pantry where they often volunteer assembling bags for the needy.
The strategy to serve cocktails daily is working a charm. We aren't much for drinking and though we enjoy the taste of wine, neither mom nor I likes how it makes us feel. john's cocktails are being put to good use and successfully so. It is now clear that My freakishly cocktail shaker and a bottle of Brazilian rum need to make the beach trip when parents, sister, nieces and I gather in a few months. On one level, I disapprove and cling to thinking we shouldn't need lubrication to get along; on another, I cannot argue with empirical results. We are a testy, perfectionistic, and anxious bunch... but one cocktail smoothes much of that away. I learned tonight that they have always liked cocktails, they are just "too lazy" to make them, opening a bottle of wine is easier. Ho-ho-ho! I can relate to Lazy Domme behaviour. Challenge accepted.
Christmas gifting wasn't extravagant -- lotions, chocolates, yoga props, and My requested shoe stretchers. Until I opened a little box and found a check that shaves six months off repayment of My student loan. This is another of a growing number of moments (three dots make a line!) when I look at My parents and wonder who they are. It wasn't just the check, it was mom saying that their thinking was that getting out from under the student loan seems to be My top priority. And I thought, wow, they are LISTENING!
Of course, I have to consider that the feeling of being un-heard may have been a matter of joint responsibility. I see the chaos that ensues from everyone topping from the bottom in the family, not being clear with themselves or others. Perhaps, just perhaps, in the years I have identified as a Dominant, perhaps I have learned something. I remember at many points that the hard thing about being a Dominant was being clear about what I want, and cleanly, clearly, directly, kindly communicating it. Maybe, just maybe, that is having spill over effects into the most vanilla sanctum of My vanilla world, the parents. Maybe the years of being unhappy with My parents seeming checked out were partly My fault. Or not. Much has happened to change them, and they are mellowing noticeably. But it is nice to think that kink can pay such unexpected dividends. That kink has allowed Me to do things that ultimately are healing for the family.
My brother divorced before he died. My sister is divorcing now. I am single. My father asked Me this year, in a fit of genuine introspection, what I think he did wrong as a parent that none of his children are successfully married. I couldn't bring Myself to say what I believe is the nakedly truthful answer to that specific question, and I don't think any good would come of it. We come from a long line of hard people. A shaman doing divination with Me (oh, why not?) once told Me that I effectively have no ancestors in the spirit world I can call upon because they are all so deep in their own pain that they are unavailable. That really resonated. There is indeed tremendous pain and trauma all over the family tree. It would be easy to beat up My parents for their flaws and mistakes. But I choose to look at My grandparents and notice just how far My parents have come, to notice how the things I fault them for is also a reaction, a conscious choice, to do better by doing the opposite of what their own parents did, to emphatically not repeat their parents' mistakes.
I told My father that fundamentally, I don't know why none of his kids is happily married, but I can tell him that I'm OK. I'm happy. I'm happier than at any point in My life. He doesn't need to worry about Me. He can focus on My sister, and her kids; I will let him know if something changes with Me. I think it was the best answer I could have given. It just kind of popped out, but I heard in that moment the emotional content of his question. Like any good parent, seeing his children in real pain is excruciating for him. So I focused on his pain more than the abstract question posed, and I let him off the hook, I absolved him of some of that pain. He did - does - the best he knows how to do. Notwithstanding their human flaws, My parents have always been My home, My anchor, the center of gravity of My universe.
And in this moment of great generosity, I feel that in middle age I am at last getting the parents I always longed for. Parents that I can connect with sometimes. Not always. Not in many areas of depth. By no means on demand. But a good bit, much more than many people enjoy. And I do enjoy them, esp. one on one. Observing My boys and their families of origin, their marriages, their kids, other friends who lost their parents early or were adopted, all these have been a great help in developing a sense of perspective and proportion, a sense of being lucky, a sense of gratitude. I suddenly feel that right now is the sweet spot with mom and dad. The tide will run away from the beach one day, a day I cannot contemplate without immediate tears. A day I dread beyond all dreading. A decline will come, may indeed be well under way. But these days... these days are for savoring. To know that, to know that *while* it is happening, to be *able* to savor it for as long as it lasts... that is a gift.