Friday, June 28, 2013

Children ARE a blessing

Do we dare step out of our comfort zone? Of what is familiar to us? What was shown to us as children? How our parents lived? The environment we grew up in? 
Do we look at our parents lives & decide that we will never live like that? Or do we believe that history is bound to repeat itself & that we should live as our parents had, because that's what is expected of us?
The other day, I heard someone proudly declare that they were pregnant, and 19 years old& single, just like their mother was.  Her mothers response was that " children are a blessing"... Yes... Yes they are... But, as a single mother yourself, knowing the struggles & hardships you went through, don't you want more, better for your child? I'm sure she justified her own teenage pregnancy by stating that children are blessings, and by this justification made her daughter believe that, if my mom did it, then so can I, that it's ok, it's a kind of acceptable way to live your life. It's the life you know & get comfortable with, because that's what you were exposed to growing up. 
We see this all over the place, most kids that go to college, had parents that went to college, most kids that went to jail, had parents that went to jail. I see parents all the time bragging about their "mini me" kids. Is this right? Is this fair to our children? What are we showing them? Does the world really need another person "just like you" running around?
Why can't we instill and harbor an individual thought process for our kids? Why can't we promote them to think for themselves? Expose them to different ways of life? Show them, and encourage them that they can become whatever they want to? 
I grew up in a hostile, anxiety filled environment, this eventually became comfortable to me, because that was all I had known. Yelling become a way of communication & living in a mess became consoling to me. When I had married, this became a controversy between my "neat freak" husband and I. I thought it was acceptable to live in clutter & to throw temper tantrums to get my way. Thank God, that my husband and I were dedicated enough to our relationship to work through our differences & compromise. He taught me how to clean & that everything has it's place & if you haven't used something in months, you don't need it. I taught him that it's ok if something isn't in it's place ALL the time.  We also learned to use empathy in our communications, which curbed the yelling & created a tighter bond & understanding of each other. This was hard, unfamiliar & sometimes very uncomfortable.. It was new territory, but it felt right. It went against everything I knew about life from my upbringing, and felt rebellious to my parents. I was almost ashamed of this new peaceful way of living, and when around my siblings & parents usually resorted back to my old way if thinking. Eventually, this sort of, bi-polar life, got to be too stressful. I tried to keep my families separate, that became a game of excuses. I was always making up stories why I had to visit my parents by myself, or why my parents weren't invited to my house. I didn't want my children to think that my parents way of life was acceptable. I had told my husband that he could not deal with my parents because they were my problem, not his. During one particular argument with my mother, my husband tried to intervene several times during the three hour long screaming match & I kept dismissing him by telling him it was my problem to deal with her, not his. Looking back now, I regret that decision. I should have let him say his peace, this affected him too & I shut him out, he is my husband, he is my partner in life & he should be able to have his say in what happens in our life. But instead, I took it all upon myself to deal with my parents "stuff". 
I wanted so badly to shield my children from it all, but I knew what it was like to not know your grandparents, so I knew that I had to let them have some kind of relationship. This was hard, everytime my children came home from grandmas, I felt I had to readjust them to normal life again.  As they got older, I always told them they didn't have to go if they didn't want to, the choice  was theirs. My son eventually stopped seeing them & has created his own life without them. My daughter seems to still have a guilt trip going, or maybe she is just manipulating their relationship because she only visits them around holidays or her birthday, when they give her stuff. I think on some level they have guilted her into visiting them, they often say they are proud of her, but only show it by giving her stuff or money. She seems content with that for now, but she is still only 19 & a poor college student, so I'm sure her views will change some day when she realizes that bribery isn't worth it. 
This brings me around to what my father had said to her in her last visit with them. He asked her if she was going to have kids soon.... Huh??? Yup, he said he has 4 kids & with their spouses, that makes 8, and he has 8 grand kids now, so that means that the grand kids need to start working on giving him 8 great grand kids..... Omg!!! That's kinda warped! And selfish of him!!! He wants more kids to brag about!! Does he really think it's ok for my daughter at the age of 19, single, in college with  no way to support herself, to have a child??? What kind if idea is he planting in her head?? This... This is the mentality I had growing up. This is the reason I was pregnant at 17. I was made to believe that it was ok and that children were blessings and the more you had, the better! Once again, children are blessings, BUT, they are work, they are expensive, they are demanding, they are draining, they are your life! They are not there for you to brag about how many you have, you have to actually take care of them!!! You see, the belief that you have children to carry out your legacy is wrong, children are not here for their parents, their parents are here for them!!! Carry out your own legacy!! So, I say, have children because you and your partner have so much love for each other that you both want to share it with a child..  
I want better for my children, better than I had. I want them to think for themselves, I want them to know what they want out of their lives & I want them to live their own lives, not living someone else's. I want them to break out of their parents comfort zone and have their "own damn wisdom"

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sigh... Father's Day, another holiday.. More grief..

With Father's Day this weekend, comes a ton of emotions for me. While I love my father with all my heart, I feel I can't have a relationship with him because of my mother. It seems the jealousy she emits from seeing the bond my dad and I have has ruined my relationship with him. Growing up I always looked at my dad as a saving grace, a calm, organized person and, of course, my safe place. I used to dream about my parents splitting up so that I could live with my dad, but alas, it never happened. You see, my dad has a strong commitment to my mother, he obviously chose her & is determined to do the best he feels he can with his choice. I can admire that, somewhat... He always said "I would like to believe that everyone is doing the best that they can, with what they have" he truly thinks he is doing the best he can, however, I see the enabling he does for her & sometimes wish he could do more to stop.
When I was a small child, I would greet my dad at the door when he came home from work, because he made me feel safe, I was always extremely excited when he came home and of course, it was always "daddy!!!" With a great big hug for him. One particular day, my mother was frustrated for one reason or another & was in one of her moods, which, of course, made me even more excited for my father to come home from work. As I ran to the door to greet him with a hug, I was grabbed from behind & pulled away from him, while being told that "this is my husband & I greet him at the door first, not you!" Oh my! The shock! The pain! The fear! And then the sadness... That's when I realized there was no saving grace, there was no safe place, I had to create my own safety. My dad tried to explain to her that I wasn't trying to take any attention away from her, and that I was just a little kid loving her father, but, the message never got understood & the jealousy has continued through the years with comments about my fathers & my interactions that had strong jealous undertones to them and sometimes jealous fits of rage when I had long conversations with him and not with her.(because he listened to me & understood) 
My father & I have always shared a love of football, so as I got older I invited him to watch Sunday games with my husband and I at my house. This, of course, caused so much backlash from my mother, because she wasn't invited. I didn't see the point in inviting her because she doesn't enjoy watching the games & ends up talking all the way through it &  causing distractions from the enjoyment of our football watching. Well, that caused a huge ruckus & she made life for my dad miserable when ever he came over to watch the games. She was & probably still is verbally bashing him. She would call me to complain about him or tell me what a shitty man he is because he doesn't always cater to her every whim or the most common complaint was that he should know what she wants without her having to tell him and he should just do it. She was constantly calling him also, during that time, or throwing temper tantrums about something. I think she was doing anything to make him miserable or guilty for spending time with me. We have tried to explain to her that there are certain things you do with certain people because that's an interest you have in common with them & that if she isn't interested in football, then why would she come with to spoil our common interest with her constant jabbering and complaining?  And again, she couldn't understand it. It seems her only true interest was shopping, finding deals. I have no interest in shopping, as a matter of fact, I hate shopping! The few times I tried to tag along on one of her shopping trips have made me completely miserable. Her obsession with "finding deals" was overwhelming & ultimately made me very sad. While I understand that's what she enjoys doing, she just can't understand that I don't enjoy it. And once again, it comes back to her pushing what she wants on me. 
I had limited my contact with both parents to a short visit on holidays or special occasions and our relationships seemed to be going fine, just catching up on what was going on in our lives. I thought maybe if I keep our contact limited like that we can all get along... Until the day she blew up on me & called 911 because she didn't want to hear that I was upset because she refused to take my daughters senior portrait. That was an eye opener & the last straw. Unfortunately, I feel I cannot contact my father and wish him a happy Father's Day, simply because I know that if she found out that I talked to him, she would make it more miserable for him with her fits of jealousy. I certainly don't want to make my fathers life harder than it already is. I know that he knows that I love and appreciate him & that's what I will live with for now..