The Poetry of Trying

Did you know that you don’t hide it very well?

To the world you sometimes do, as the doting grandma standing at drop off, your grandson running up to give you a cuddle, one it isn’t hard for you to reciprocate, unlike the ones of my own childhood. You slip into that role quite easily, I suppose my son is far easier to love than me, that’s true.

But to me, you don’t hide it well. I can see it when your eyes glaze over while I’m talking, or when you say the simple word “yeah” while I’m mid sentence, which means you’ve got something of your own ready to say, no longer listening to me at all. I can spot it when we sit in silence next to one another, nothing to say except enquiring about mutual people in our lives, “Have you spoken to your brother?” “No. Any news with your sister?” “No.” And back to silence again.

You don’t do a very good job of making me feel loved. Whether you try to or not I suppose is irrelevant to me, but maybe it’s important in the narrative of the story. Most things which are hard, which don’t get easier, we give up on. It’s human nature. It’s hard for you to find any love for me, you can’t deny that. Most days it’s hard for you to even think of me. Should I give you credit for not giving up?

I want to be fair, and I don’t want to blame you for something which is outside of your control. Love isn’t something we choose for ourselves, it arrives in our lives and takes us by surprise, it rushes over every part of us inside and out, enveloping effortlessly in its warmth. If you could choose to love me, I’m sure you would. After all, it would make all of this so much easier. And yet we have none of the warmth, all we have is the cold. And the trying, of course.

But maybe, maybe you’re not trying any more. Maybe when I expected you to call this week, to find out whether everything was okay with the scan I had for my second child, the next in line for your role of doting grandma, to see how I was feeling, maybe that expectation was ridiculous. It’s been five days and still no call.

Should I take the lack of contact as a sign that you’ve given up on me? That the effort it takes to try to love me, to try to meet my obviously high expectations has finally become too much for you? We all have our limits. Perhaps you can’t keep trying any more.

Perhaps I can’t either.

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