Tag Archives: child

How Does This Adulting Work?

From my time on this rotating planet I have never had anything close to a good relationship with my Father. As a child he was never interested in us, unless it was to berate, humiliate or treat in a thousand other miserable ways.
To be perfectly truthful I don’t actually have any pleasant memories of him, but I can immediately bring to mind a dozen painful memories. He was always so embarassed
that his oldest child was a poof, a fag, queer, but hey we all have our crosses to bear, right?

Eight years ago, my Mom passed unexpectedly, and his world shattered around him. He hid in his bedroom when he was upset, tearful or just felt any other emotion other than anger. My siblings and I sorted the funeral, meeting people. We sorted her clothes into trash bags to take to the charity shop, he never even looked at any of them. Her jewellery and anything else she valued he told us to divide. He never even looked at anything, not jewellery, not picture not a damn thing.

Bizarrely for the next year I would be there every night to make his dinner when he came home. I always remembered older family members saying how hard it is to come home to an empty house or one without lights on. houseTime marches on and everyone muddles their way through. This was all new territory to us. So now eight years on we all muddle through. We can stand the occasional meals together and I have been assigned a new role of his medical / emotional needs. So if he’s feeling lonely I am meant to use a crystal ball and figure it out and then of course work out how to fix it. When he spends money on gifts that no one really knows what to do with or that aren’t of any use, I have to make it better, or tell them the response he’s looking for, kinda messed up eh?

Recently I got a new puppy. I am single, answer to no one but me so saying yes to a puppy was the new challenge I needed, I had just put to sleep one of my older dogs leaving me with a single dog, who I knew would not settledog being an only dog. It all seemed to happen at the right time for all the right reasons.
My Father is absolutely terrified of dogs, whether they’re 2 lbs or 100 lbs. Remember this little factoid.

Well this new puppy is 10 months old. Chews anything she decides might taste interesting. Loves to run at faster than a speeding bullet all while looking like she came out of the movie Gremlins. Lets just say, the mixture of breeds she is, has left her with a face only a Mother could love. She has established herself at Doggy Daycare and albeit she weighs 5 pound wet, she runs the pack. She is a pain in the butt for my older dog, but she also cuddles up to her. She is hell on 4 paws, she frustrates me, makes me laugh and loves me with her crooked grin. Why am I telling you about this whirling dervish? I tell you because my Father adores the ground her paws walk on. Ironic eh?

He could care less than I own an amazing, cute, talented older gal, who loves cuddles, loves chicken and adores the days the puppy is at Doggy daycare!
I hate he makes a difference. I know they aren’t kids, I understand that all to well but they are as important to me as kids, and I love them BOTH. I chose them for as long as they are on this earth alive they are mine.

Tonight, my Dear old Daddy wanted to watch a parade, but instead of just saying that. He decided that WE should watch the parade together as well as taking the puppy. After all it would be the best opportunity for her to experience it. I’ll pause here to allow the look of disbelief to leave your face.
Suddenly my mind is spinning………… DO I allow him to dictate?
What if the puppy freaks out from the noise or people?
What if my Father loses his temper at the puppy?
Setting aside the feeling of dread in my stomach at the idea of my Father being in my home or ‘safe space’

I knew I had no option but to let him plod along, thinking he was being the bigger man spending time with his gay Daughter, all for the good of this puppy. The entire time I felt as if I was riding a bull through a field of explosives. The puppy survived, the fistful of treats I had helped ease that process. It was all over in less than a hour, but sitting here now I feel as if I have ran a marathon. My dogs are both asleep and chasing rabbits in their field of dreams. I am sitting here 5am wondering what the hell just happened?
Did I take the path of least resistance? Or did I fold like a cheap poker hand?
I’m wondering if I react to this man as the scared child I once was or as the mature adult who knows he’s an old, lonely man who in some way is trying to be a better man?

The wounded part of my soul tells me to reinforce the walls. Not to see the glimmer of good or hope. The adult part of me, the Youth Leader part of me tells me to see what happens. Just see where it goes. Worse case scenario he’ll screw up, best case scenario he’ll surprise me and everyone else.
It’s now 5.16am and I don’t know the answer, perhaps I will never know the right path. I know as hard as it is not to collapse into quivering heap of jelly around him, I know the scars I carry from this man will keep my therapist in a job for life.

Tonight I will cuddle both my babies, and dream of a less complicated tomorrow. With less questions and more clarity. The sun is rising from his stupor and I hope I can find a little peace to find mine

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Filed under March 2013

Mourning For ‘The What Ifs’

For almost 6 months now I have been single and have experienced everything from guilt, emotional pain, remorse, despair but yet I have slowly come to the realization that the overwhelming emotion I have been battling in my dreams, the strange ache in the pit of my stomach is not for the loss of a 26 year relationship, or a woman I once loved, but it is grief.

Grief and mourning for the children I will never get to hold, the little hands that wont reach up around my neck when they’re tired or afraid. Lately my sleep has been interspersed with mini movie reels of what I have always secretly yearned for but chose to not pursue for a myriad of reasons, not least that my ex didn’t want children, and in fact didn’t even like to be around little people.

It was not a decision I came to lightly. When we met I was 16 and never thought that I would be loved by anyone, never thought a same sex relationship would be tolerated in the tiny country village in which I live.
In my mind I always pictured an old fashioned brass weighing scale, where on one side there were kids, marriage, family life etc and on the other a same sex relationship with someone I loved, who loved me. Depending on my mood, the scales balance would shift daily.

It never occurred to me that I could have both, or that 10, 20 years later I could still have had both. The first few years of our relationship were spent hiding, trying to be safe and keep each other safe. Knowing that we had huge targets on our back, but it was the 2 of us against the world. We would be the ones to make it and show them all.

I’ve worked with and volunteered with children for as long as I can remember. A room full of little people at a Birthday party I delighted in. Folks telling me that I should be a Teacher or work with special needs kids as I seemed to have a talent or knack for it, while pleasing to hear, simply hurt. Each time it was mentioned I wanted to explain why these little kids were my pure joy, but I doubt anyone would have taken me seriously. I will never forget reading about Hans Christen Anderson, this amazing storyteller found his audience with children, quite by accident. He discovered they listened to him without judgement or mockery when he told his magical tales, and to them it didn’t matter that he suffering from a debilitating stammer. I can still recall the book in my hands, how the ink smelled, the picture of him sitting at a fountain with a gaggle of eager little people hanging on his every word, my tears fell silently onto the beautiful illustration, because in that instant it was as if they were writing about me.

It wasn’t because I had a talent with children, it was that they had patience for me. One goofy adult who would play their games, listen to their stories, answer their questions and never seen a frown or judgement when I stuttered or stumbled over a word or got too excited and couldn’t string 2 words together.

I used to daydream of a ‘normal’ life, the kind you would see in a 1950’s ad for the perfect home, white picket fence, you get the picture. Alas the reality was just the opposite, we had to live a life that was simply fraught with anxiety, stress and secrecy. Only now it has occurred to me that for almost all of our relationship the only safe place was inside our home, behind locked doors. The result of which was we were either so exhausted from the pretence that when we got home we collapsed and dozed in front of the tv or did ‘our’ own things or we forgot that it was safe to be close with each other, affectionate with each other.

Tonight I watched by new Great Niece coo and blow bubbles as my Sister held her. I adore this child, and love seeing her change daily and watch my Niece become the most amazing Mother, but it also causes me a little hurt, or pang of the ‘what ifs’.

I know that I could foster, volunteer in any number of ways, but for now I think I need to spend a little time working through this new found emotion that has manifested itself in dreams etc.

While I make peace with the choices I made, the decisions I felt were the correct ones at the time, I get to watch this new human being, grow, change and become everything she can be. My new start, new place to live will also be blessed with a ring side seat of being involved in this little ladies life and getting to watch her blossom.
I’ll also be able to tell her stories of her Mom growing up, how alike they are, and how at one of the lowest points in my life she taught me to revel in the little things. To enjoy the smiles, to blow bubbles and to sing silly songs because it makes us both happy.

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Filed under March 2013