In a previous post, I mentioned that my mom and dad were getting back together. That is still the case. They have each gone through with the divorce of my step-parents and my dad has even gotten his job relocated to the city my mom lives in. One of my sisters is still happy for them and my other sister is still not talking to my mom, though I hear she’s beginning to come around. As for me, I’m stuck in a constant state of emotional confusion. My parents are coming down to visit for several days, one of those days being my birthday. I receive texts and phone calls from both of them several times a week, which is not unusual for my mom, but for my dad? I have communicated with him more in the past couple of months than I have in the 16 years since he walked out on my mom and me.
I want to be happy for my mom. I really and truly do. I hope for her sake that this doesn’t end badly. If it ends at all, I want it to be amicably, with very little to no hurt feelings. Though I want her to be happy, I’m so confused as to how I feel about all of this. I’m used to hating my dad. I’m used to him not being in my life. I had resolved it with myself that my future children would not have a grandfather. My husband’s own father died when he was in high school and his mother never re-married. Not that I was o.k. with any of this, but it’s what I was used to.
Now that everything has completely turned around, I’m still stuck facing the other direction. I still want to be angry at him. How can I not be upset? I have never had a good relationship with my father, even growing up. The constant criticism and what I can honestly say may have been verbal abuse wore me down after 18 years. What’s absolutely the worst thing about this reunion, is that my mom has now begun to defend the past that hurt me so deeply. My father left, apparently, because it was the only way to fix the situation at home. Her life was devastated as much as mine was by his unexpected departure, and now she’s justifying it.
The latest blow to my psyche came by way of a text containing the above picture of gummy orange slices that they have on the dessert bar at the Golden Corrale buffet restaurants. In high school, the three of us often ate at that restaurant and cracked up laughing until we were practically doubled over when it came to dessert. I honestly don’t remember what was so funny, except that my mom loved the orange slices and always made a production about putting them in her napkin so she could secretly stuff them in her purse to take home and eat later. This picture was sent to me last week by my mom who thought it was funny that they still had her beloved orange slices at the restaurant where she and my dad were dining. A follow up text read: “Oh the memories…” I ignored the text completely. My memories of those times are tainted so darkly with how broken down my spirit was because of my father. How can she look back at that time and smile? Worst of all, how can she expect me to look back and be happy?
My husband said I should text her back with an old picture of my arms cut up and bloody, as the result of my own way to cope and deal with the past. A reminder that when I was coping in this self-harming way, neither of them were there. Both had left me completely alone when I needed them most. My father first, then my mother, less than a year later. She moved back north to be with the other members of my family. She claimed she couldn’t support herself here anymore after filing bankruptcy. “Oh the memories…” Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of my arms at their worst, but I do have several very faint pink lines that scar my skin. I don’t think I could be that outwardly vindictive. In fact, when my mother called to see why I was ignoring both her and my dad’s texts, I refused to talk to her about why I didn’t appreciate the picture of the orange slices.
I don’t know how this will end. I don’t know how I will even get through their visit next month. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this. Am I supposed to be happy for them? All I know is that I roll my eyes when I get a text from my dad, and today in Wal-mart, listening to Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years” playing overhead–my parent’s ‘song’, I could only shake my head as the cashier bagged our groceries. This is weird, this sucks, and I’m not sure that I ever want there to be a time when I feel o.k. about it. For now, it just is what it is.