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16.11.04

Strolling Down Memory Lane Of My Parents Divorce

Actually, they aren't divorced; they've just been legally separated for over half my life. So that was misleading. This came up in a conversation today. Most of the time, I don't understand people my age whose parents are still together. What do you mean, they aren't divorced? What do they do when the fight? They try to work it out? Huh?

Anyway, I don’t remember the second time that my parents told me that my dad was moving out. I was in eight grade, making me 13 years old. They told me in a hotel room on a family vacation -- I just don’t remember if it was the family vacation for Florida (first time ever in Disney) or the family vacation to Washington D.C. (well, it was for a soccer tournament over Memorial Day weekend, but the entire family was there.)
I think the latter, b/c I don't remember my dad gone when I was in 8th grade, but what do I remember?

I remember standing as they sat on the hotel bed and told me, "We're telling you now because we know that you already figured it out. Don’t say anything in front of your brother and sister until we get home; we want to tell them and we don't want to ruin their vacation." You know the kicker? I had no idea. None. So basically, my vacation...

However, the first time my father left, that I remember. I was almost seven years old. Just finished first grade. It was summer time. I had been outside playing. It got dark, I came inside. I went to the bathroom to wash up (read: scrape some dirt off of me) and went to my bedroom. My dad came into my bedroom, sat down on my bed, and gave me the speech about mommy and daddies not loving each other but still loving the kids. It's such a cliched speech, but I guess that's how something like that becomes a cliche.

The day he left the first time, my dad was standing at the bottom of the stairs, by the front door. My mom was standing next to the stairs, in the hallway, behind the banister, holding my 2 year old brother in her arms. He was in a full body cast b/c the babysitter tripped while walking down the stairs and his left leg was broke on said banister. I was sitting on the steps and I was just about eye level to my dad. He was crying - and I recall thinking that parents were not supposed to cry, especially dads.

They asked me whether I wanted to live with my mom or my dad. My dad was moving out. My mom was staying in the same house. But I was a real daddy's girl. I didn't particularly like my mother. She was always mean. Probably tired putting up with a 7, 4 and 2 year old all day. Especially when said 7 year old is hyperactive. And melodramatic (yes, even then). SO what was I supposed to do?? I didn't want to move. So I answered my mother. My four year old sister chimed in that she wanted to live with me. Not my mom. Me. Yikes! What does a seven year old do with THAT responsibility??

In my case, it involved taking care of my brother and sister for the six months that my dad was gone. My mom had a breakdown and didn't get off the couch any day but Saturdays when my mom came over. Since I was seven, that involved six months of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, and drinking cherry or grape kool aid. That was about all I knew how to do. There was a convenience store about a mile away, and every day I would get on my bike to shop. I still hate grocery shopping. My dad came back six months later, and I've refused to be a competent cook since then. For the record, I don't like jelly at all anymore and am not super crazy about cherry kool aid. I do still like peanut butter sandwiches though. And grape kool aid. So those may not have anything to do with my diet for 6 months (except Saturdays when I ate real food.)

As you get older, you realize certain things about your parents that you just aren't aware of as a child. First, my mom is still in love with my father. Which always makes it fun. Second, my father left in large part b/c my mom is packrat. Third, my father might quite possibly be one of the most selfish people I know. That last one is hard to accept, b/c for the longest time I hero worshipped my father, and the mere suggestion that he could not walk on water was unacceptable. He is also...well, let's just say that when he jokes about sex, it's disturbing because this is my father, not a friend. You know? Or maybe I'm just weird. My mom is still the person who had a breakdown on the couch over twenty years ago. Granted, her life hasn't been easy, and she is one of those people that you just feel the need to take care of. When I'm taking care of my mother, who is mentally and physically capable of taking care of herself, it just seems backwards.

This post has nothing to do to anything. Sorry. I have a headache.

3 Comments:

  • At 2:59 PM, Blogger melyssa said…

    this post means a lot. it gives us a little insight about your development into adult hood. it is backwards to take care of your parents. sometimes i feel like i have to do that as well.

    some of us our take charge kind of people. it's a good group to be a part of.

     
  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Me said…

    "little insight about your development into adult hood."

    Hey now...who said I'm an adult?

     
  • At 10:31 PM, Blogger Jen(nifer) said…

    This post has to do with EVERYTHING and makes you human.

    Love you right back!

     

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