Is this estrangement?

My daughter lives across the country. She and her husband moved 2.5 years ago in a great leap of faith and with a soft landing of a job transfer.

For the most part, they are happy and have weathered the storms of being thousands of miles from their families and the lives they knew here. That first year they both came home separately for visits. My son-in-law (SIL) was homesick and missed his family and friends, my daughter (D) was overall having a tough time with depression and anxiety and felt the need to come back and touch base.

From the geographical distance, I have done everything I could to help and support them through the rough spots. Our communications have been sporadically consistent, but when she lived 5 miles away our communiations were sporadically consistent. It is my daughter. It is me. It is the pattern of speech and interaction we have established as we navigated the family dynamic.

D and SIL flew into town at the end of July and were in town a week. I know because D called and told me the dates when she purchased their tickets, described their projected activity and schedules, and we made some loose plans to get together and looser plan to speak privately about something on her mind.

About two weeks prior to their arrival I texted about the upcoming vacation. I was excited to see them after more than a year. She responded that the day could not get here soon enough!

On the Tuesday they were to arrive, I texted her again to see if they were in the air? I had a vague idea they would be arriving early afternoon. My SIL’s stepdad was picking them up at the airport, and they would staying with my son and daughter-in-law in town, but I was half expecting a phone call or text with any scheduling updates.

Silence. No text reply or phone call.

Finally, before I went to sleep that night, I texted again to see if they had indeed arrived safely?

This time, there was a quick confirmation, apology, and explanation that it had been a long day.

That was the last text I received.

On my DIL’s instagram, I saw photos with her paternal grandparents birthday dinner (their arrival a surprise that delights me still) as well as a pic from a concert she and my DIL attended the next day.

I waited for contact with suggestions about getting together. Or even a “hey, we are way too busy to get together this trip.” Nothing. Finally, on Sunday, I texted my surprise at not seeing or hearing from them and I wished them safe travels on the flight home.

Tuesday my SIL posted a photo of the window view from the plane on their way home. Not a text or phone call from either of them. I am disappointed in this turn of events.

My question: is this estrangement?

I think about this situation and wonder if this is it? Will we ever interact again? I chastise myself for being overly dramatic and conflating her silence with estrangement. I examine my own thoughts and emotions, wondering what I said or did that might have been hurtful or infuriating to bring this about?

Honestly, I don’t know.

My truth: I do not believe this is me, doing something egregiously offensive and shocking them into silence as their only defense.

More importantly, I do not know that I care to try to dredge up reasons for being shut out.

Make no mistake, I love my daughter and my son-in-law, so much that I respect their agency to make their own decisions. If I fault her for anything, it is not being clear and direct as far as her choices. I would never make demands for their time or attention, but I feel justified in mild expectation of communication, even if it was simple regrets about availability.

But in the big picture of families, being ghosted is small-ball. Maybe it blows over, maybe it lasts the balance of my life. I cannot fully understand what she is doing or why with the information available to me.

In my heart, I want her to be happy. Whatever her reasons, my hope is her silence and our distanct contributes to her overall sense of peace.

But in my head and beneath the pragmatism of my views on agency and personal responsibility, I feel hurt by the rejection … if that is even the appropriate term for this situation. It is not something I need to get over, yet it is something I wish I understood.

Jumping in … except I really don’t jump

There are a lot of things in my head I want to write about, just to Kon Marie my head and thinking. While I am not quite naive enough to believe it will impact my life in significantly positive ways, I am hopeful enough to believe it will streamline the cognative processing process.

So I am putting forth another rah-rah! go me! backgroun post as I prepare for the brain dump that is coming.

For now, a little more about me.

I have a husband and have been married since 1998, so 21 years. In addition to that, we lived together for almost 7 years before getting married. Ours is a good and stable union, and through the years I have come to realized H is the imperfect guy who is nearly perfect for me.

Into this marriage I brought 3 young (at the time) children. I was divorced and my kids at the time we began dating were 4, 5, and 7. The kids’ father was part of their lives, so it was not as if my H became insta-father to them. He was present, we made decisions regarding our life and times together, although he mostly left any required disciplining to me. There were expected standards of behavior set forth from him, though, and while they are not now and were not then far off the normal rules of polite society, my H and I are different enough to make me feel his implementation was too heavy handed. In hindsight, his approach differed from my own.

Growing up, the kids were easy-going and good kids. No serious issues other than having to nag about getting homework done, etc. I like my kids as people as well as love them because they are my offspring. As grown-ups, they are caring and responsible adults.

I do not think my life is anything special in either its ordinaryness or its lack of spontaneous drama. H and I are both flawed in different ways, and the strengths and weaknesses of our personalities are evident in our choices and living our lives. A good example: H is extremely active on social media sites – Facebook and Instagram – and stands firmly in his beliefs and is willing to wade into the muck when his values are challenged or mocked. Me? I quit FB a couple of years ago after a very limited presence for about 18 months. I also just deleted an instagram account after 8 months and zero posts. I dislike the venom and the poison that is often found in these public forums.

Blogging limits my exposure to the shenanigans in social media and helps me maintain balance. I feel more in control of my own narrative here in my own blog.

And I want to stay practical, positive even when the tales are woeful, sad, or inspire a sense of white-hot anger. Facts and circumstances can inspire strong emotion, and while I do not have anything again expressing emotion, I understand that my reactions are not necessarily going to effect change on the facts or events. I would like to influence the outcome of future situations and circumstances, though. In my mind, I cannot rewrite the story of what has happened to me, but maybe I can create happier endings to similar situations going forward.

I am, at my core, a hopeful optimist.