Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hold on. . .

If a truth creeps up on you, I guess it's not exactly what you would call a revelation.  But there is absolutely a moment of realization.

I grew up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood.  My mom had two kids and a caboose. ( I once over heard a neighbor sitting in the kitchen talking to my mom and this women had seven kids and she asked my mom what she did that she only had three.  Honest to God.  In one lifetime.)  The caboose knows he was a caboose and knows that happens in Irish Catholic families and, in truth, he has not dealt with it very well.  But none of my mom's kids were ever taught anything resembling a coping skill.  My mom always had a job.  She thought that made her independent, but since she died my dad has made remarks about how that made her feel she was contributing but in fact it was a pittance and an inconvenience.  Sometimes my dad worked three jobs and my older brother and I always had a job.  I mean always. I bought my own bicycle when I was seven and from the time I was thirteen, I bought every thread I wore.  Once my mom saw this coat that she thought was great and I was luke warm about it.  She said, "Well, I'll buy it for you since you buy everything else."  I was thirteen and a freshman in high school.

Anyway, what I started out to say was, despite her holding jobs to make her feel independent, my mom was totally dependent on my dad, as was he on her, though not financially.  I grew up thinking that the husband-wife thing was a dynamic unto itself and that's the way it was.  And that belief, which no one ever bothered to tell me was misbegotten, caused me years and years of sadness.  Then I realized my marriage was not like my parents, and the things that you grow up and have engrained in you culturally and socially, do not apply in every individual case.  And I realized, not all of a sudden, but I came to know that I am in this boat all by myself and it has been very freeing.  There is this guy that lives in my house, and we get along now.  I can make demands of him, but I have no expectations of those demands being fulfilled and I have done stuff I never thought I could do, all by myself, and my boat isn't leaking and the sea is calm.  There is still sadness and difficulty in my life, but it is all mine to deal with as I choose.  I'm fine.

1 comment:

  1. The older I get, the less idealistic I become. Reality has a way of slowly setting its foot down.


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