Many times, people say, “start at the beginning”,…so I may just heed that advice now. There are several things I recall about my childhood, but there are also a lot of things missing. I guess the biggest absence that sticks out to me, is that my parents NEVER went out, NEVER kissed (OK maybe twice), or even hugged. But yet one of them, always told my brother and I that they loved us.
Our parents gave us everything that we needed. We went to Catholic schools (really just because it was our mother’s choice), we always had food, and we never worried we couldn’t play sports or do extracurricular activities. My mother routinely kissed both of us good night, yet my father, is a little absent in these types of memories. Even to this day, my mother will be the first to say, “I love you” when we leave. Yet, even after hugging my father good-bye, he rarely, if ever, says such a thing.
Now, I’m not about to divulge the difficulties of my parents’ personal relationship and not that I want to think about what is wrong with it. But in my 30 some years of life, I know that it has taken a lot of work and understanding for them to hold onto their marriage. And if I can speak a little bit more about my mother here, she is a die-hard Catholic. So, I might as well be honest… She is never going to let my father divorce her! (Sorry, you don’t know me that well yet, but I’m trying to give you the truth here. That was the exact thing I said at their 40th wedding anniversary to some other family members. And yes, there most certainly, some alcohol involved. But I still believe it to be true). That being said, it’s not far from a conversation I once had with my father while driving back from WI (a trip we have done quite often), where he admitted, “She should have been a nun. She just got off on the wrong exit.” This is something I’ve never forgotten, because it seems to me, like the best way to describe my mother.
But let’s get back to the topic at present…Over the years, I have slowly and morosely discovered that my parents are really just people, the one judgmental and the other degrading. And has not just been directed at me, their own flesh and blood, but also towards complete strangers, several times. Please know, I am not proud to be say this, and yet, plenty of times I have been completely embarrassed by their actions!
In the past couple years, I’ve have tried different ways to understand why and how to deal with this frustration I feel towards them. Beyond the limited or situational circumstances, in which I’ve seen them treat each other with disrespect and anger, I can’t forget how they have treated me. Not that I’m asking anyone to take my side, I just want to paint a picture (which despite being left-handed, I can’t actually do) that gives you some idea of what I’ve grown up with. And unfortunately, have had to witness first-hand. In fact, during high school, I got to the point that I felt like I was a scapegoat between them. Something my brother never saw or understood, mostly due to the fact that he went to school out of state.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for more details on all of this, but I can tell you that it has continued to get worse, the older I am. I am not saying that I had a bad childhood. Looking back, even now, my parents’ gave, provided, and were there for whatever I needed! And even though, I have not always gone to them, I do know that I can always rely on them. Yet, I now question, how much love was there? That’s where the questions start…. Is caring/providing for someone enough for them to know love? Is their routine checking-in or emergency help, enough to make me feel loved? Is that enough for a parent to do, for their own child to understand and equate it to love?
Please understand, that over the years, I’m the kind of person who has tried to change things for better, between myself and my parents. Even having gone so far, as to separate myself from them. In fact I have tried more than a few times, but despite each attempt, I have never been able to let go of them, or these livid emotions they invoke in me. As their daughter, I still want to be there for them, in a similar fashion they have been there for me. I’m not sure I can ever let them go,simply because that’s what I really want. Yet, there is a possible long distance move in my future, to be closer to my love. And with this, there are several things unsettling to my mind. With some time, I may get to that too, but not today. My biggest hope is that there is someway to improve my relationship with my parents.
At the end of the every day, I do love my parents because they are my family. And I am understanding that they are only human. Trying, at what in their minds’, seems to be the best that they can do. But I can also honestly say, “I don’t like them a lot of time.” I’m sure many of you could never express such a thing, or maybe it’s because you aren’t that honest with yourself. But I find it a pretty regular occurrence for me, to put it like this because of how I was treated, from an emotional standpoint. I question my parents’ love every day, and I continue to watch their true personalities show through. Enough so, that I’ve even questioned, have they ever really love me?