Family

I went down memory lane yesterday talking about my grandma’s and how things have changed in the world even since I was a child.

I think the loss of the family unit is the greatest tragedy of my time, my generation. Women’s lib was in my time and hey! I am one of the most independent women I know, I was a single mom and I would never advocate a woman stay in an abusive marriage for the sake of the kids. I don’t think a woman should be at home with supper cooked waiting with her husband’s pipe and slippers. I think in an ideal world a couple works together in and out of the home for the common good of the family. But I also think if a couple wants children there are choices and sacrifices that have to be made. I think a woman can do it all, but maybe not all at the same time or she has to be with a man who supports her in her career and is willing to take up the slack in the house and with the kids.
I have also run a day care, and I had my son in a day care (only as a last resort because I couldn’t find a grandmotherly type or stay at home mom to care for him) when I had my day care I advertised “Home away from home” child care. On my brochures I had a little child waving good bye with a line Kris and I used to use when I left him anywhere, “I love you, I’ll miss you, but I won’t cry”.

I raised my son to be self sufficient, taught him how to cook and do his own laundry, but there have been times he’s needed to come home to mom for awhile to regroup and I have always been happy to be there for him if he needs a helping hand once in a while.

Michael, The Heretic; has said a few things that got me thinking about family. One was a post he did about selling one of his guitars because they needed food, another time it was about his sister’s in laws staying with his family for a period of time, and more recently he said something about moving out on his own and not being in his 30’s still living at home. As if it’s a bad thing. I think Michael’s family is doing it the “right” way, they know what family is all about. I think it is awesome Michael reads my posts to his mom, watches movies with his dad and they argue about how a pulled pork sandwich should be made. I think if Michael wants to move out that is great but I’d don’t think there is any shame in living at home either. I think it is wonderful how his family is so excited about him going to school. That is what family is about!

In high school I had a girl friend Debbie, she was my best friend all through my pregnancy, her family knew what being a family was all about. I felt a little uncomfortable at her house just because they were so open and accepting. Their house was nothing fancy, I don’t know what her dad did for a living and I can’t recall if her mom worked, what I do remember is walking through the door and how relaxed everyone was. At one point her mom was trying to quit smoking and found laying in the tub helped her cravings. They only had one bathroom and she was in the tub day and night. Everyone went in and used the bathroom anyway. Her mom would call out from the bathroom, “Hey Deb can you grab me something to drink”. I think eventually she started smoking again. Deb’s grandma lived with them and often times she would be having a beer with Deb’s dad and watching the game with Deb’s two brother’s. Deb’s was attractive, to quote her, “If you’ve got it flaunt it”, but not stuck up, she was trust worthy and a good solid friend and I think she could tell her parents anything. Deb always had summer jobs as did her brothers, I think they were all good kids. When my folks called to see if Deb knew where I was when I ran away because I was pregnant I know that Deb and her Mom went to my folks house. Her mom encouraged her to tell them what she knew and I know her mom was concerned for me and my safety. She knew I was pregnant long before my folks did. I haven’t talked to Deb in 35 years but I bet she is one of the few who stayed married and raised her family, I just have a feeling.
Another family I look at with admiration is my friend Kathy’s family. I bet they’d be surprised to know that because they are just an ordinary family in their minds, doing what comes naturally and they probably don’t appreciate what they have as being anything special.

I met Kathy when we worked together at Fraser Valley Foods, 20+ years ago. At that time she was with her first husband. I don’t think her mom ever worked outside of the home and I’m not sure what her dad did because he was already retired when I met her. but her folks held the mortgage on her house and when her and her husband needed a new vehicle the folks lent them the money. When they shut work down and we all got laid off Kathy didn’t have the stress most of us did, sure she had to pay her folks back, but I believe it was without interest and if she missed a payment or two no one was going to foreclose on her. She had her house paid off before most people ever do. Her second husband went back to school several times because he couldn’t decide what he wanted to do and the mom and dad helped them out every time.

Kathy played baseball with my last husband, actually she introduced him and I. Her and I both love to dance and she had asked me to come to a ball dance and I said only if she could find me someone to dance with. And the rest is history, like she said later, I said he was a good dancer, I didn’t say marry him! Anyway I digress.

Her mom never missed a ball game, she would arrive with the family dog, a bag of Spitz, and cold drinks to cheer the team on. Her dad didn’t like to travel but her mom took trips with friends and they appeared to have a very nice life. Her mom was mom to the whole ball team.

Her brother lived at home, he was a fair amount older than Kathy and had never married. I had thought it was strange that he still lived at home but once I met him, it just seemed natural. He had a good job and took a transfer to Vancouver Island and lived there until he retired and then he moved back home.

After Kathy’s father died and before her brother moved back home it became apparent Kathy’s mom couldn’t manage the big house on her own so Kathy and her 2nd husband sold her house and built a beautiful suite attached to her mom’s house. That way they were there if she needed anything. When Kathy’s husband left her she was understandably devastated but she had no worries financially and she didn’t have to do it alone. She works as a travel agent and doesn’t make a lot of money but she doesn’t have to and when she is gone her mom and brother are there to care for her two dogs. I was over there about a year ago and I was envious of the relationship Kathy has with her brother and how they all take care of each other. When the mom dies I’d imagine Kathy and her brother will continue on in that house. I can’t imagine them fighting over money like so many families do.

To me it just shows that if a family sticks together it all works out in the end. It is synchronicity at its finest, they do “family” well. Unfortunately it isn’t always possible in families, even when they try and it’s getting harder because couples rarely stay together any more. Children don’t live with both their biological parents and often times have several step parents, 1/2 siblings and parents buy bumper stickers that say “I am spending my children’s inheritance”. Hey more power to them, as they say, they worked hard for that money and they want to enjoy it. But I don’t think Kathy’s mom would ever say she isn’t enjoying the way she spent her money. She doesn’t have a fancy house, I bet the kitchen is the same as when they build the house 50 years ago, and she doesn’t drive a fancy car but she has her kids right there and she knows she will probably live in her house until the day she dies. That is a hell of a lot of peace of mind.

I am not criticizing anyone for their life choices, we all do what we feel is best for us but when you see a family functioning as it should, for the good of the family, I think they deserve to be recognized for that. The thing is; they are just doing what comes naturally and don’t know they are special. But isn’t that what makes someone special? The fact that they don’t know it.

As Christmas approaches I try to not think about family because my son won’t be coming home this year. Not that I have a home for him to come home to. My brother and his wife have recently split and I am not welcome in my mom’s house by my step dad.
It’s ok, I think I will volunteer at a soup kitchen or something maybe decorate my truck and drive around handing out hot cocoa and turkey dinner to homeless people. It won’t be the first Christmas I’ve spent alone and it shouldn’t matter anyway. Family shouldn’t need a special holiday to get together.

There was a time not long ago I would be into my Christmas baking full steam by now and spending every weekend making cabbage rolls, swedish meatballs, antipasto, cookies, squares, tourtierre, my own Christmas crackers, and I’d be chomping at the bit to put up a tree. I’ve had some mighty fine Christmas’s in my day, mighty fine!.

Do you have plans made for Christmas yet?

Thanks for listening. Hugs from Carrie
Are you following the Lady Witha Truck, you should be!

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4 Replies to “Family”

  1. You don’t even know how happy I am to have found your blog!!! I have been reading it all day. I am divorced from my N and we will be apart now for a year and half. We did the back and forth thing for a couple months after our break up and then I caught him on a date with his now girlfriend he lives with. I was with him 14 years and he sucked me dry….self-esteem, financially, everything!!! By the end of the 14 years it was so bad he was giving me his pain medication pills he was prescribed as a way of controlling me to get what he wanted. I was done, shredded, ripped apart…I went to rehab and got clean! He hated it…after rehab he told me he didn’t know me anymore, I wasn’t the same person, I changed. Yea I changed…I went from being under his spell and control and got help. The manipulation continued and that is when I left him but some part of me wanted to hang on so that is when we did the back and forth thing. Sorry to skip back and forth. When he moved in with his new girlfriend it was “I had no choice, it’s all your fault”…”if you didn’t do this to me I wouldn’t have to live with her”…now (a year later and half later) I hear…”she is the perfect woman”…”I don’t think I ever loved you”. It kill’s me and keeps ripping me apart. This past year and half has been hell! We have a child together and he has taken me to court and back numerous times for custody, he has used my past addiction to his advantage and painted this grimm picture of me to everyone…I have no friends left from our relationship, they all sided with him! 1 1/2 years later I am still fighting to get my kid! He has passed me on the road and given me the finger, used my daughter to manipulate my sister and try and turn her against me, he has given me the silent treatment (yet, tries to talk to me if he hasn’t heard from me in a while???), called me names, told me “I scared him”, took the phone from my child’s hand when I was talking to her so he could call me a “crack head”….I can keep going!!! But, I don’t get it…to this day why am I still so angry at his new relationship and how “happy” he is….he hasn’t changed for her…he just wants me to believe that! I have done everything I am supposed to for court to get my child back and honestly when I get her back it will be the happiest day of my life yet the day where I have to deal with him again! I am scared! I don’t want to be sucked into his games anymore and that is what he will do….I don’t want to hear about how happy he is or how well he is doing….I would rather hide and run far, far away! I am assuming the best thing for me to do is be the bigger person and not say anything….why is it so hard? He torn me down to nothing and almost 2 years later I am still hurting inside!!

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    1. Rstdrtluv, first; my deepest apologies for taking so long to respond! I have had a hell of a time with my phone and internet connection.

      Oh how I can relate! I am always so thankful I never had children with my ex. To think there were times wished I could have children, now I thank the good Lord it wasn’t possible. I pray you get your daughter back very soon. What a horrible horrible time you have had; you are amazingly strong and should be commended for all you have accomplished!

      It doesn’t matter to him, if you didn’t have the pain meds in your past he would just make up something he wants to make you look bad and he doesn’t care if he has to lie to do it. For whatever reason they want to destroy their victim. As if the relationship wasn’t damaging enough once they discard you they want to obliterate you; it is the absolute worst thing I have gone through in my life.

      It has been two years in 2 weeks since I moved out and I still cry about him and fight back thoughts of him with her. I know in my heart he hasn’t changed and he would never let me see anything but how perfect everything is in their life but it still hurts and I have to self counsel.

      I have tried to figure out why I can’t just say, “Good riddance” and forget about him. The best I can come up with is, I gave up so much, compromised so many of my values and boundaries, tolerated stuff I’d never tolerated from any man, lost so much financially, forgave so much, and loved him like I’ve never loved in my life; I just can not believe he could just walk away and say I made his life hell and it was all my fault. I KNOW the truth, I know he knows the truth but how does that not hurt? Of course it hurts and its going to take time. We are not recovering from an ordinary breakup. We were involved with the devil himself, that kind of evil takes along time to cleanse out of your system. Look how far you’ve come! And then keep your eyes forward to the positive future you have ahead of you. You will love again, maybe not as blindly, maybe not as innocently but it will be a healthy love with someone who appreciates you and your kind heart and won’t abuse it.

      You know the new woman will be in your shoes one day.

      When my ex was going on about his new woman I interrupted him and said,” I am sure M is a wonderful person, we all are when we meet you. I was calm and rational when I met you too. M has not put in 10 years with you yet. When you’ve been together 10 years and she’s still so calm and rational get back to me, maybe I’ll listen, but until that time I don’t want to hear it.” For some reason he shut up.

      But he still tells everyone how I made his life hell, tells people I do drugs, drained HIM dry, how he should have stood up to me OMG I go insane!! The lies!!! And he is bleeding her dry and using his lies to make her feel so special because I bled him dry and SHE is paying his way; she is so special. She is making up for all the abuse he suffered with me. Oh gag me!! She is going to be so sorry when the money runs out and so does he.

      When I find myself thinking about how happy he is with her I replay it in my head with her being treated like I was treated; which is probably closer to the truth anyway. She is sitting at home waiting for him, he’s not answering her calls or texts, he isn’t coming to bed. I remember how sad I was, and I remember no one believing me because he was so loving in public.

      He even said to me after we split that one of his ex’s really hated me and I said why she didn’t even know me. And he said, ” because we were so happy” I said, “We were?” He said, “well, yeah, we were together 10 yrs, she never thought it would last that long” I said, “But you weren’t happy”.
      He said, “Yes he was.” I said, “You could have fooled me”.

      But then I knew, he would never let me know there was anything wrong in his new relationship and he would always try to make me think they were just perfect. His ex is dead now and I feel bad that she never knew the truth; it wasn’t her, we weren’t happy. He didn’t change.

      Good luck with everything and keep in touch
      Hugs
      Carrie

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      1. Oh Carrie. I am so sorry. And not in a, “Glad it isn’t me!” sorry. A genuine, “Yep I know what you mean” sorry.

        I thought that I had a close family unit, but there are underlying issues with my sister and I, my sister and my mom and my grandmother and well, everyone. Lol.

        For Thanksgiving my parents will be on a two-week cruise. I will be here with my grandparents and an aunt and uncle. I am not looking forward to it because frankly I just want to be left alone. I am still very hurt by the break-up.

        I hope by Christmas I will be better and all of this will just annoy me and not make me fall apart. My parents will be here for Christmas and that will lift my spirits (I am very close to them, almost co-dependent, sadly).

        I have never understood the American culture of tossing your kids out at 18 (and I am an American). At 18 I was an idiot and not ready for the world or its responsibilities. I envy cultures where the child can’t leave the house until they are married (or at least it isn’t weird if they are still there at 30+). I still live at home and people definitely give me a Look. A Look that screams pity and “failure to thrive.” I can understand why they would think that, but being close to your family is not the worst thing that a person can be.

        I cannot see the reply from the person you responded to, but I love your response to JC about M. Aren’t they ALL wonderful in the beginning? I am sure I was described as amaze-a-balls to his ex as well. That is until he realized that I wasn’t okay with the pretty girls that he always flirted with, the push and pull, the yelling, put-downs, total disregard for my feelings. And then I was “so annoying sometimes.”

        How quickly it changes.

        Carrie the fact that you didn’t lose it after a decade of abuse is amazing to me. You are so strong and I admire you for surviving it all (and no, I am not “love-bombing” you lol).

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        1. Yikes, love-bombing me haha your funny!

          Thanks for the kind words again. You know I didn’t feel very strong through most of it. Most of the time I just got through the day best I could and before you know it another year has past and you survived. Later you look back and its all a blur.

          I think I was stronger than I realized, it takes a lot of strength to deal with someone like that day in and day out. But like I said, I just got through the day most of the time. I am not one to feel really sorry for myself for too long. I have a pity party, invite everyone for some whine and then I get on with doing what needs to be done. Some of the hell holes JC and I lived in; I thought I’d die! But I loved him and would adapt, do what I could to make it home. But I went years without a kitchen even, cooking has always been a big part of me. Entertaining, having parties, baking and giving it away, I used to read recipe books to my son as bed time stories LOL

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