Yesterday my cousin and I were on the phone when all of a sudden she said “I've got to go - I love you!” and hung up. It was sudden, but she was driving with two kids in the car, so not totally unexpected (I’m not even sure it’s legal to talk on the phone and drive in Massachusetts). It wasn't until today that she texted me and explained that there was a meltdown in progress with her kindergartner. She said that her little one was feeling like she wasn't getting enough attention.
That’s how I feel. Like that kindergartner, whom I love more than anything. And that’s just the thing, this is my cousin’s family - these children are her responsibility, her loves. I am not. Does that mean that she is incapable of loving more than these little ones? No. But they are her priority.
I am another one of those weepy twenty-somethings who will tell you that they weren't loved enough. I hate the hypocrisy of that, but at the same time, it is the truth, my truth. My parents never really seemed to understand what you do with kids - soon after my parents separated (right before my 10th birthday), I unofficially became a grown-up. I didn't have to call and make my own dentist’s appointments, but I was left with the stresses of two unstable parents and trying to navigate a path of independence. I took care of my mother. I stood aside for my brother’s crises, the result of a messed-up childhood. As I got older, it got worse. Rehab, drama, jail. Ironically, I realize now that the constant drama was worse than the rehab and jail.
So now, here I sit, a late twenty-something with issues. And the days I realize it are the days when I need to just call someone and cry on the phone, and I realize that I don’t have one of those people. I have grown-up relationships with people who like and love me and make me feel not-stupid, but they are the people I have lunch and coffee with, not the people I call and sob uncontrollably with. Even my partner is unavailable for that.
So, will you love me, care about me? Even just give me a hug and say it will be okay?
The writer is beautiful and sad and lonely and smart and okay. She needs you and doesn't need you and cares an awful lot. If you want to hear the story of her right now go listen to the songs "Pompeii" by Bastille and "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors.