November 24, 2014

Coping and Dealing

I have so much flying around in my brainpan these days.  This holiday season is going to be a very strange one.  There are family separations that I don't understand, and some that I do.  I lost my father this past month and my stepson, the Boy, lost his maternal grandfather earlier this year.  Those gaps will be very hard to fill.  There are so many more things going on that I just can't wrap my head around.  Death, that makes sense.  There's a level of ignorance happening around me that I can't abide and it's caused riffs that don't make sense to me.

I was a reluctant mother.  That is not something I've exactly hidden.  I also took the necessary steps to make sure I never had anymore children regardless of what doctors, family members, and friends told me about it.  I know what happens when a woman follows gender roles or wants a baby to get a paycheck from some unsuspecting sap.  I was never going to follow those patterns, the children don't ask to be born into our self-deprecating world.  Even though my ex and I have a crappy relationship, I have never used her as a pawn, I've never restricted his access to her, and I do my best to not allow ill speech of him where she might hear.  Granted, I'm not perfect at the latter, but I make a concerted effort.  Most of all, I do what I can for her yet still give her room to learn how to do it herself.  I don't understand parents who treat their children like dirt.  I truly don't.  I understand tough love, that's how I was raised.  Do it yourself, do it right, don't take anyone's crap, and watch your own back because no one is going to do it for you.  I even understand bailing out your child when they screw something up a point.   There's a hand up, then there's giving them the rope to hang you with.  (note *you*, not *themselves*)  But that's not my issue tonight.  This one is for the parents who are so self involved that they forget to parent.

How is it acceptable to saddle your grown child with your siblings or parents mistakes?  How is it correct or good to ask them to put their lives on hold to clean up a mess that should have been cleaned up by you, the parent?  I'm not talking about someone elderly who took out a credit card while developing Alzheimer's....I mean being middle aged and handing your child a major life altering issue and saying, "OK, here you go I'm going to take a nap, don't ask me for anything".  I've seen parents take full advantage of their own parents, and then turn around and continue that pattern with their only child.  Embarrassment, driven by juvenile behavior because one can't handle growing older...twenty-one is an age to get ignorant in a bar, not 40.  I'd like to think I've never done stupid things or that I was a great mom when my daughter was younger, but none of that is true.  I can say this however, I've have made a point over the years to keep my idiocy away from her.  She doesn't deserve to pick me up drunk, be it off the floor at home or from a bar.  She doesn't deserve to pick up the broken pieces of my difficult life because I'm too weak-willed to face it.  She absolutely doesn't deserve to be talked about and taken advantage of because I took advantage of my own parents and she took care of them in my stead.

I was close to my dad.  I watched him slide slowly into nothing until he disappeared.  He was given 6 children by two very beautiful women, 3 of us are still here.  He wasn't an overly affectionate person, neither did he waste the phrase "I love you" on any of us.  He did buy us appliances when ours died and we had no money.  He sent rent money and bill money when our children were in danger of being cold or sick.  He didn't know how to tell us that he cared about us but he made efforts to show us.  As difficult as his relationship was with some of his children, he never put his burdens off on us.  Not one time.  Not even at the end when my mom waited on him and nursed him 24 hours a day for a year and a half.  My mom refused help, martyred herself for a man 16 years her senior.  She rarely left the house and when she did it was for a measured amount of time and made sure it didn't hinder my sisters household.  My sister and I don't know how to cast our burdens onto our children without remorse.  Watching others do this is not just a travesty to's just unthinkable.

For the first time that I'm aware of, this years holidays will be spent with only certain family members.  There is a level of strangeness for us all this year.  Some are missing due to life fulfilling it's cycle, others will be missing due to the effects of their own actions.

No one ever said coping or dealing with personal issues was easy.  No one ever said that losing a parent and all the things that comes with it was an easy thing to face.  We didn't come here with rule books on how to raise kids or what to do with them once they grow up.  I have told my step son over and over that the one person he can count on, no matter what, is himself.  The first time Honey heard it, he wasn't OK with it, but then he thought about it.  We can't guarantee we're always going to be there, no matter how much we want to be.  So why go out of our way to make their lives more difficult both while we're here and once we're gone?

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