Real life

I’ve got a lot of responsibilities, but that’s not really my point today. I fantasize about spending time outside of the house that is NOT consumed with errands for our kids, dogs, and house. I mean Jesus, get me away from all the Febreeze commercials with their bland decor, perfect homemaker women, and adorably mischievous young charges.

Egad, she said, arms akimbo.

I finished watching 2 seasons of United States of Tara. This is (so far as I can think of right now) the most realistic portrayal of marriage I have ever seen. Nevermind the multiple personalities. I mean the 2 adults trying to stay young, energetic and fun, despite the crushing realities of teenage kidz, mortgage, day jobs that are sometimes not fun, aging with grace, plus keeping the house up, making an effort to know their neighbours, providing unheeded guidance to family members, and entertaining out of town parents occasionally. I’ll admit, that last part really spoke to me and my frequent dilemmas wrt out of town guests who happen to be fairly judgy and intrusive. The couple also happens to be the centre of the universe for many of the other characters, and everyone relies on them to stay together but also relies on them to take on everything thrown their way. And to smile while doing just that.

So in other words, there are many people in my world who rely on husband and I to prop them up, help with whatever crises or everyday life fraught with drama, and still remain happy and relatively carefree. Ha ha, ‘relatively’. Oh and please look your best and keep your house up. Actually forget the please. And forget about any emotional support from us, because WE need YOUR help.

Wow I do not feel as pessimistic as this post appears. Actually I consider myself an optimist. As soon as something bad happens, I start looking for the silver lining. According to my mom it’s annoying.

As an adult, I had a terrible relationship with my father. And since he is now dead, there’s no way for me to fix that. As I get older I understand better that he was human and worthy of my pity and forgiveness for mistakes he had made. Also, I should have reached out to him more often. After all we were both adults. It’s strange when two people in a relationship have completely different opinions about said relationship. After his death, my recollection of him was wobbly, to say the least. I had decided he was one way, and gradually I began to understand I was wrong. I set him up to be 2-dimensional, a good/bad guy. Mostly bad. My opinion of him as a bad guy was easy to maintain. It’s when I took into account his motivations for his actions and started remembering some fun and loving times I had with him that I began to have trouble. Seeing him as a man, not ‘just’ my dad, was difficult because I had to admit I was very unforgiving of him at times. I didn’t give him credit for trying to be in my life the best way he knew how. I deprived him of getting to know me as an adult because I was angry at what I perceived to be bad parenting on his part. I had to admit I was wrong about him most of the time, and that wasn’t easy. He loved me and wanted to be in my life. What is so wrong with that? I can’t apologize or make up for lost time with a dead person. Obviously.

My parents divorced a few years before my dad died, and I had a front row seat to the demise of their marriage. I have always identified closely with my mother, and I took his actions against her very personally. I don’t know if it’s possible not to do that when you are an adult child of conflicted parents. I just couldn’t get over some of the hurt he caused my mom, even though it had nothing to do with me. His attitude toward her and their relationship had nothing to do with his relationship with me.  When Bill Clinton messed around with Monica, that had nothing to do with his job as president, though many held it against him. Not so easy to compartmentalize our experiences, hmmm?

The relationship one has with one’s parents is an significant building block in one’s adult persona. I would hate to think that by divorcing my kids’ dad that I have broken that relationship, and so I go out of my way to accomodate and work out our differences while remaining civil. Friendly, even. I want our children to have unfettered access to us both, so that their personal foundations are strong. One less thing to complain about to one’s therapist.











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