Last night when Little Hart called to invite me to come with her, her BFF and her BFF's Mom to the go up to Sundance to check out the celebs I felt well torn. I was flattered that they wanted me to go with them, and at the same time I was tired and thinking of all the things I had to do. After a lot of back and forth in turned out her Mom really wanted to go and so it was all good! Problem solved. Sounds perfect doesn't it?
What you should know is that if this same exact scenario had played out last year at this time it wouldn't have worked out as easily for everyone involved. At the time, Little Hart and Greta( her mom) didn't get along at all and they both preferred to do things without each other. Unless.... I was involved then Greta seemed to take an extremely keen interest that she be the one involved since she was the MOM! The problem plain and simple was that Greta worried more about controlling our relationship(me and Little Hart's) rather than building her own with Little Hart and as a result she didn't really have one with her. So there was always tension when an activity came up and Little Hart wanted me to go with her. Even if I If I was tired I felt I had to go because if I didn't a fun activity would usually turn out unenjoyable for Little Hart because most times a fight would happen between the two. If I did go then there was the usual cold front from Greta "How Dare You try and take over my Daughter." AHHH the pressure.
What ended up changing? Little Hart almost died from a freak infection in March 2010. I plan on going into this in more detail in a later post, but the key component of this was that we spent Nine Days by Little Hart's beside in the ICU wondering if she would make it. In that moment you realize that the only thing that matters is Little Hart come out of this alive and being able to live a normal life.
But the real key came when our family(us, all our kids and my parents) and Greta and her husband sat in the waiting room while Little Hart went into surgery to try and clean out some of the infection. Even though she was weak it had reached a critical point and she had to have the surgery. It could have gone either way. So we waited. To pass the uncomfortable period of time our family started telling all of our stories about Little Hart and before I knew it we were laughing our asses off. What stood out to me was Greta and her husband. They sat silent and somber. They didn't share one story and as I looked over at Greta I could see it written all over her face; the realization that she didn't know the little girl we were all talking about. Little Hart came through the surgery but it would be touch and go for the next couple of days to see if she would make it!
The next morning I remember Greta walking into the cafeteria dining room (swollen eyes) and asking where Raylan was, I said in the cafeteria. She went in the doors and they didn't come out for quite some time. I knew something was up but I was prompted to stay and wait at the table. Fifteen minutes passed and Raylan came out and Greta headed back up to Little Hart's room.
Raylan sat down. Greta just said "I don't know my daughter and I think I missed my chance to get to get know her" Even some 11 months later those 17 words cover me in heartbreak and the tears just flow. Raylan continued and said I told her that Little Hart is the funniest, most interesting person I know. She's going to make it and when she does you will have another opportunity to get to know her. It's up to you what you do with that opportunity. For years we had made that similar comment to ourselves, but it never had the same weight as when it came out of Greta's mouth. It wasn't that I felt bad for Greta as much as Little Hart. That her mom hadn't realized until that moment that all of her energy had been wasted on who she had relationships with rather than her own with Little Hart. She did pull through and to Greta's credit she made some tough choices and worked hard to change her relationship with Little Hart.
So today's string of events while it may seem so simple from the outside it really has so much meaning. A Mom that let the situation today unfold organically. When it didn't work out with me said Hey - I would love to go AND that Little Hart was excited and happy to accept the offer and spend time with her Mom.
In looking back, how do you tell a mom that she doesn't know her child and have her believe you, especially coming from the Step-Mom. She wasn't ready to hear it until that day at the hospital when our stories came crashing down on her like a ton of bricks. What I can say is that both before and after Raylan and I never jumped on the bandwagon of pushing Greta out of Little Hart's life because bottom line Little Hart needs her Mom in her life in a positive way. End of story. So we always have supported and created positive experiences within our control. And while I wish it could have happened another way; I am so glad that Little Hart has her Mom in her life in a happy meaningful way.