Mom started off by reminding us how much she and Daddy loved us and…
“what we have to tell you is hard, but everything is going to be alright. Mom and Dad care about each other very much but we have found it very difficult to live together, so Dad is going to move into his own place but he will still come here to see you on Saturdays. This isn’t because you kids were bad or had anything to do with why Dad is moving out.”
I ran to my room slammed the door and cried and cried, my brother went outside to ride his bike. Both of us confused, hurting and scared of what the future had in store, but handling it in very different ways.
Life moved on and the idea of being “alright” to a ten-year old I guess seemed like a true statement. In hindsight *all wrong* appears to be a more accurate analysis. Growing up in a home with Mom as the end all, by and by proved a daunting task. Maybe this is why now I have such a burden for single Moms. Dad did come every Saturday for a couple of years until the company he worked for moved to Vermont and He with them. Visits dwindled and eventually stopped altogether. I have to give a lot of credit to Mom, ( although I didn’t know a lot of the details until years later) she never bad mouthed my father and was always very careful when we would come to her with questions or tears because of broken promises he had made, she always left a way out for us to continue our relationship with him, (such that it was).
Taking the Dad out of the picture for 2 young boys meant a very different life for my brother and I. Over time discipline become more of a problem, not to mention with Mom working part-time and going to school to try to establish a career that would allow her to afford to raise us, meant we were alone without supervision a lot, and when 2 boys are alone a lot, boys invariably get into trouble. We moved several times mostly because we wore out our welcome in the neighborhoods we lived in. Thankfully most of the trouble we participated in didn’t cause injury to anyone or the need for police involvement. As we grew through our teen years the differences in the way my brother and I dealt with problems became more noticeable. My brother kept it all inside which led to violent eruptions when too much was trapped inside. I tended to wear my heart on my sleeve and became overly sensitive, certain that everyone was talking about me and my wayward life.
Through this time both parents in the beginning had started drinking socially which eventually led to more drinking and less socially, ironically later in life this gave me a healthy respect for alcohol and the dangers it posed. As alcohol slowly destroyed my parents it also began to affect us in ways that only now looking back can I understand. The sense that we had to make excuses or turn a blind eye to the things that Mom was doing at the time were not really discussed, and thought about as little as possible. Walking an inebriated parent home in the middle of the night, I only hoped no one was watching. When I had to drive her to work because she had lost her license I focused on the fact that at least I had use of the car for the day. My brother chose a different path than I was on, using the example set before him justified his choices to engage in similar behavior.
Mom started going to church when I was about 17, again looking back really helps me to have perspective on things. Nothing in her behaviors changed but going to church must have been an effort to find some common ground with her own parents who I imagine must have looked at the way she was living with frustration and hurt of their own, questioning where they had erred, after all this is not the way they had raised their daughter to behave.