December 16th, 2019

Lyrics: WWHT

LJ Idol Week 1: Resolution

When I was pregnant, I sat my parents down in my living room and I laid out my expectations for once Aurora was born. There was no do-over for my sister and I, but they got another chance with Aurora and, goddammit, they were going to do better. Truly, I felt a little silly sitting across from the two people who raised me to explain to them how to be appropriate adult role models for my future daughter. My sister and I had survived, hadn’t we? The drugs, the jail sentences, the promises that it would stop and that I would later discover in a drawer were lies, the hiding of things in my bedroom closet because the parole officers weren’t allowed to search children’s room supposedly, the moment I innocently asked my mother why daddy always takes me across the street to play even when I don’t want to and then he and the woman turn on The Little Mermaid and disappear into the bedroom, the hot checks my mother would beg the cashier to set aside until the beginning of the month so we could buy some pasta and spaghetti sauce, the yelling and the throwing of dishes and coffee tables, and the fact that my mother has either participated or simply accepted it all were all that I knew and, as an adult, there was nothing that I could do to change any of that. I had successfully compartmentalized all of that and had set forth on a life that, in many ways, was the opposite of what they had done. For a long time, I didn’t want to talk about it, but eventually I’ve learned that my parents’ mistakes are not my own and I don’t have to guard their secrets any longer.

By the end of the conversation, my parents assured us that there would be no substance abuse around Aurora. They proclaimed that they would move, that they wanted to help us by taking care of Aurora while we were at work, but a year later, they were no closer to that goal than they had been and we had to secure an alternative daycare option.

When my parents came to visit for Easter, approximately two years after that initial conversation, my father confessed that he’d been drinking, despite both family and doctor’s insistences that he stop, that he’d been lying to my mother so that she would then, in turn, lie to us. Afraid that a harsh response may cause him to lie to us further, I tried to be understanding of his plight. Later that day, though, he guzzled a tall can of beer in the gas station parking lot and then boldly ordered whiskey at dinner. He was baffled by our disdain. The following day, he declared he was going to go to the gas station again and we explicitly instructed that he was to not purchase any alcohol, but about a half hour later, my mother came back in tears because she was unable to stop him. Everything I didn’t know I had ever felt boiled inside of me; I told him that I had been willing to overlook the fact that I wasn’t good enough no matter what I did, that he has continuously chosen drugs and alcohol and women over his family, but that this was not going to be Aurora’s experience, even if that meant she had a grandfather-shaped hole in her life. After staring at me with his mouth literally hanging open because we’ve never had such a direct, blunt conversation in my life, he went for a walk. Shortly after he returned, he asked if he could take Aurora for a walk to end of the street. When we couldn’t see where they’d gone, we walked down to the end of the street and found him, with his back to Aurora to block the wind, attempting to light a joint on the side of the road. He accused us of not trusting him and sulked for the rest of the day. The visit was followed up with months of avoidance in an effort to “let [me] cool off,” which just fueled my anger more, and then more plans and promises that I just simply can’t swallow any more like a good little girl.

Occasionally, my mother declares her intentions to finally, once and for all, leave my father. She blames him for everything that has gone wrong in her life and explains that he can have everything, including the house, even if it means she has to live on the streets. I finally told her that I don’t know how I learned to be an adult because I certainly didn’t learn it from either of them and that I can’t continue to parent them.

My father says I’m holding his past mistakes against him, that I don’t understand how difficult addiction is. Even though his words sting, he’s probably right: I look at my blonde little girl that looks so like me that it absolutely terrifies me and I don’t understand—I don’t think I will ever understand—how my parents could look at me, and then my sister and I, and not give everything they had to try to be better.

Every other week I sit in my therapist’s office telling her how guilty I feel for how my feelings toward and about my parents have transformed. I’ve repeatedly asked her how I can know that I’m doing right by my daughter and my family. She assures me that it’s possible to break the cycle despite the fact that my parents left me no road map, but some days, I can still barely walk from the burden of trying to pave a path when it feels like the two people who are supposed to love me unconditionally are doing everything they can to take me down with them.
duh /crazy - eb eb eb

Ironhorse RESISTS...

There are many reasons not to eat red meat - and here are some new ones, via Ironhorse on twitter...

A reminder that USDA guidelines governing pork will soon take full effect. Toenails, hairs, sexual organs & bladders will be ok & plant employees w/no training will replace federal, public inspectors. The biggest rules change in 50 yrs will soon apply to beef also.

See comments here.