The Hillhouse

The Journey of a Mother and Son

Near and Far June 30, 2012

This moment feels very surreal. Fareed and Elihu sit at the kitchen island, small computer before them, skyping with Elihu’s sister in England. Her mother and I are friends, we’ve many times compared notes on the sometimes outrageous behavior of our childrens’ father, and I know her to read the blog. I have no bad feelings towards her or her daughter, but nonetheless, it is a strange feeling to be in the next room of this tiny house listening to Fareed, Elihu and his sister talk. I don’t need to pretend I’m not hearing them, nor do I need to tiptoe around and pretend I’m not here. To tell the truth, I’m not sure this girl even has any real concept of me existing at all. I wonder sometimes, does she wonder? Does she ever wonder about her brother’s own mom? She is a few months older than Elihu, it can’t be too long before she begins to ponder this. But I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter I guess. For me, I cannot imagine being in her shoes – or those of Fareed’s other sons’. Hmm – are they in turn her little baby brothers?? Man, I guess so. But I’m not even sure she knows about them at all! Strange. I know that in the real world there are many such twisted familial relationships throughout many cultures – and that there have been all through history, it’s just that I myself never in a million years could have envisioned being personally involved in such a tangle.

Elihu’s baby brothers can’t have understood yet – in any meaningful way – that their brother has a different mother. I often wonder at the years yet ahead and how these relationships will evolve. Elihu loves his siblings very much, and he’s said many times to me that he hopes I can meet them one day. Just how will that work? I can, in fact, imagine seeing his sister and her mom. That would actually be enjoyable, I think. But how will it be to see Fareed’s ‘other’ woman and their two sons? I did send her an email last summer, thanking her for taking care of Elihu; an olive branch of sorts. But she didn’t respond. I simply can’t know how she thinks of me. The spin Fareed might be putting on our story. Does he paint me to be a shrew? A selfish bitch? I don’t know. And I can’t do much about it. But I will, no doubt, one day come face-to-face with the lot of them, and I want to weather it with as much grace as possible. Even today I think I would cry if I should see them in person. I don’t even know what the boys look like – although Fareed does tell me stories about them. I try to smile, try to listen without taking it personally. And I think I’m doing better at that. I know these kids have nothing to do with what went on between their mother, their father and me. So that helps. But it’s still bittersweet.

Elihu comes over to me and whispers ‘do you hear that, Mommy? She’s got a British accent!’ I listen for a moment, and yes, I hear the sweet little voice of a girl who no longer sounds like she’s from Denver. I almost want to say hello, but there’s no reason. I hear her mother, and I might say hello to her too, but for what? This is their call, and really, it’s not my business. Again, this moment just feels strange.

They are so far away, yet they are so intimately a part of our own lives. They seem as unrelated as strangers, and yet they clearly aren’t. Life sure is unpredictable and full of contradictions…

 

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