Hipstercrite Life

And You Made it All Ok

Wow, I was, like, a super-bitch to you as a kid.” I said to my mother on the phone yesterday.

Nah. Not really. You were a kid. You didn’t know any better.

No, I mean, I wouldn’t let you cry. I’d get angry if you cried. You had to be my mom and nothing else. You couldn’t be human. I’d get so angry at you the times you showed any emotion over Dad leaving. I’m sorry, Mom.”

This conversation occurred at the exact moment my father sent me an email out of the blue explaining to me “why he is the way he is.”

This sounds like the beginnings of a “heavy” post, but it’s not. These are interactions I have with my parents on a semi-regular basis due in part to me becoming more objective over my parents divorce as I grow older, me apologizing more and more to my mother for not letting her mourn the divorce, and me occasionally snapping at my father for always being the good-time fun guy I used to idolize. I still look up to my dad, but in different ways than I used to and the matters I used to chastise my mother for now make her my hero.

I have a family of three- my mother, my father, and my grandmother (Mom’s mom) and I grew up in a divorced family. I not only love my family, but I like them too. I talk to at least one of them every day and they are the first people I call when something wonderful or terrible happens. They’re my buds and I can’t imagine a world without them. My parents did a pretty good job of making sure their divorce did not heavily effect my childhood, such a good job that it wasn’t until my 20’s that I really stepped back and thought about my parent’s divorce.

My Dad left when I was six for good. Or seven. I can’t remember. He kind of left intermittently after I was born. It wasn’t because he didn’t love me. As he explained in his email yesterday, he’s a free spirit, a wanderer, someone who always wanted to go against the grain and live by his own standards. As a semi free-spirited adult, I can relate and respect, but as a semi-grounded adult as well, I question if a person of such mentality should marry and have a child by 30. In his instance, I’m glad that he did.

My parents tried to make it work. My Dad relocated to Annapolis, Maryland and my mother and I would go to visit. Annapolis has always held a romantic place in my heart because it was the last time my family was one. We became two shortly thereafter and it was a rocky time full of tears, anger, and frustration- though I saw very little of this.

Being a free spirit meant that financially it was often difficult for my father to be a “normal” father. Once he left, he would collect cans just to have gas money for the drive from Maryland to New York. I would wait for hours by the window for him to arrive and when I’d see his car pull up, the world stopped.

Our routine was to rent a movie and purchase a couple of cans of Chef Boyardee and vegetables while sitting amongst the tiny hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles in my dad’s friend’s warehouse. There was nothing I looked forward to more than this time with my father. My mother, my caretaker, would be cast aside and if she called with a reality check I would pout and resent her for spoiling my time with my dad. Little did I know the frustrations my mom was going through with having to be the responsible parent.

You don’t know any better when you’re a kid. The world revolves around you.” she said to me yesterday.

It’s true. As a kid, it’s all about you and seeing your parents waver or falter is not an option. Reality is not wanted.

My 20’s have been an interesting time of awakening. A lot of apologizing done by me to my mother and my father to both of us. A lot of tearful conversations of talking about the past. A lot of phone calls and emails like the ones last night. But mostly my 20’s has been about realizing something I already knew- I’m lucky to have two of the greatest parents in the world and though the journey may have been atypical, we made it work.

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  • Reply bard April 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I remember first seeing my parents (and childhood) in a different light when I was in my 20's as well. It might be more like understanding better what you already knew (as opposed to discovering it for the first time), but you definitely start to see things in a new light. The perspective keeps changing as you age, of course, but it is the beginning of a more "mature" way of looking at your life and family.

    I'd like to commend you for being so open and honest in this entry. Your words touched feelings that I haven't felt for a while, and I admire writers like you who can let their guard down and touch others that way.

  • Reply kellynD April 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I can definitely relate to this! My parents divorced when I was 9 or 10, and my dad wasn't around much at all after that. My mom took care of me, my sister and brother by herself and was determined to raise us on her own. We were on the brink of bankruptcy, and by the way my mom treated us, we never knew. We never hurt for anything we wanted. Dance classes, karate, gymnastics, new clothes, anything we wanted, we usually got. My mom's definitely my hero. 🙂

  • Reply Cathy Benavides April 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    It's rough for us kids of divorced parents. My mom left my dad when I was about 18 months old. I have one hazy memory of a trip to the zoo when I was about 4, but other than that, we had no contact with our dad until I was 11. I used to get so angry at my mom for "keeping" us from him and trying to force me to call my step-dad Dad when I had a Dad. Little did I know of the pain and turmoil that surrounded their divorce and that my mom had to sever contact for her own well-being. I too spent a long time apologizing for….well…..being a kid. But now I remember that we can only do what we can with the information we have at the time. It sounds like you love your family so much and that is a beautiful thing. The only way to get over the past is to keep moving forward and loving each other as much as you can.

  • Reply girluntitled April 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    it's sort of refreshing when you finally hit that age and realize, "wow…my parents AREN'T perfect…and i'm more than ok with that." i've always had a great relationship with my mom, but i've just recently started to get to know my dad a bit better (even though him and my mom are still married and he was there all growing up.) when you finally start to understand what kind of person they are, understanding why certain experiences in the past happened soon follows. family is all about knowing each other inside and out, and acceptance…first and FOREMOST acceptance!

  • Reply Big Mark 243 April 8, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I am glad that you made this entry. My two Carolina daughters alternated summers/easters with me for the first 10 years of their lives… and a few times I have went back and met them on their ground in Carolina (and Georgia).

    Talking with them as teenagers our relationship has changed… and I sometimes wonder if they see what we have in the way you see (and saw) your relationship with your Father.

    I constantly remind them how big a debt that they owe their Mum's… and I can hear the 'eyeroll' when I do. Soon, they will be adults and they will be more like you, forming their own opinions and working on the image in their mind of the Father and what he means. And I hope that they can have the same appreciation for the Moms as you do of yours…

  • Reply YoungUrbanAmateur April 9, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Ahh yeah… that's huge. All parents have moments when they become children again- or at least become more *human* than is fit for a child to witness. I think the test of good parenting has got to be how good they are at not letting being human interfere with being parents. When I first saw it in middle school, I didn't really like the ending of "Life is Beautiful." But now I feel like I get it… and I feel like it's about that. Have you seen it?

  • Reply Adrienne April 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I think you have a lot of understanding for them both. That makes it work. It would be a lot harder if you weren't this emotionally mature.

  • Reply Anonymous April 10, 2011 at 4:01 am

    What's unfortunate is when your family is like mine, and you're so relentless in thinking about bad events (mostly involving or caused by your parents) that you see your "childhood" in a different light at a young age. The worst thing about it is looking back and thinking about how they really tried to make things better, but they were far from succeeding. I know I sound a little whiny, but it really sucks.

  • Reply Jaydee April 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    This made me feel a lot better. I have a 5 (going on 6) year old son, and there's so much that goes on behind the scenes between his father and I. Its really hard going through it, but I think of how much more he will understand when he's older, and it gives me something to look forward to. Thank you for reminding me that children grow up, and form their own opinions of people and situations. 🙂

  • Reply MG April 10, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I can totally relate. Me and my mother have gotten into numerous arguments in my life about my stepfather. And the older I get, I realize that he's an asshole, but he took care of me like I was his own. Which is pretty remarkable. Although, I still think my mom should have waited longer to remarry, I realize that she was just trying to do the best she could for us.

    I think its a part of being in your 20s to reflect back and start to see your parents as human, ya know?

  • Reply KeLLy aNN April 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    My family was my dad, and his mom.
    I was every bit the Daddy's Girl, and my Maw Maw was the most special bit of Lagniappe ever created.
    My mother was verra harsh and because I was dad's favorite, made my younger brother her favorite.
    I'll never forget the moments I realized that my Parents were the way they were because of THEIR Life experiences. With my dad, that came with a little bit of saddness; with my mom, some relief to understand that She would never change and be the mom that I had wanted her to be.
    I credit my GRandmother for saving my life, because I'm quite sure without her, I would have committed suicide or became a hooker because at the age of 5/6/7/8/9/10 you DON'T understand why your mom hates you. They divorced when I was 16
    My MawMaw and my Dad died within 6 weeks of each other. It will be 11 years this year. I still remember my dads old phone number. Not a day didn't go by that I didn't talk to him. At one point, they lived together and it was pure Heaven for me.
    These revelations really are Freedom. Enjoy them in all their aspects.

  • Reply Scott Tammaro April 12, 2011 at 4:10 am

    This was a great thing to read. Thanks for sharing such gut-bucket stuff so openly.

    It made me think of my own family in a more understanding light….

  • Reply Scribbler April 12, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Wow. Almost the exact opposite of my family story.

    Yet I can still relate.

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