Neat & Tangled (Part I)

The other day I was catching up on a moms website that I frequent.  Currently they have a "getting to know you" thread going which is really neat.  I don't actually answer the questions, because the state I live in is way to small and everyone knows everyone so I don't need my personal business all over the place, plus I'm paranoid about creepers and stalkers. I do however like to read them and see what the women have to say, I admire them for sharing.  The past 2 days have been about your relationship with your parents.  The one day asked about your relationship with your mother, if it was good/bad/whatever.  I would say, from the responses I read 8/10 of the women had a good/great relationship with their mom. I saw many times things like "she's my best friend", "she's my rock", "I hope to be like her", etc.

I reflected on my own relationship with my mom. My sentiments were similar to others.  She is one of my best friends, I know I can talk to her about anything (see previous lesbian post). She would do anything she could for me. We have our moments. We certainly have disagreements, but overall I think we have a great relationship.

The next day continued on the family theme, and the question asked about your relationship with your father. What I read was so saddening.  From the responses I read, about 2/10 had a good relationship with their father.  Often referring to themselves as 'Daddy's Girls'.  I am sure you can imagine what the other 8/10 had to say. Almost all of them read something like, "My dad left my mom when I was X years old..."

It makes me sick to my stomach to be a part of the majority.

I was a Daddy's girl, not as much as my sister, but I loved him more than anything. My mom and him had the picture perfect marriage. We were such a happy family. He was the greatest Dad in my eyes. Funny, handsome, a great coach, listener, smart, creative, the list could go on.

Me and Dad, circa 1986

He had his quirks, he slept a lot, always had headaches, was a little anti-social. I attributed all those things to a horrible accident he had when he was younger that caused some serious brain injuries.  As my sister and I got older, he became less and less involved.  I could sense a change, a distance growing between ALL of us. I left for college. I'll never forget the phone calls I got from my sister. She would be hysterical crying, saying Dad never came home last night, she heard him having weird conversations on the phone and then leaving the house, him and mom never talked. She was scared. I was scared.  The whole thing progressively got worse.

In May of 2004, after my sophomore year of college I moved back home for the summer.  One of the first nights I was back I was roaming around at 2am trying to find something to eat, how I missed having a fully stocked cafeteria.  My dad was up too, we were both night owls. I have so many memories of us sitting up until the early morning talking about music, movies, religion, science, whatever. This time was different though. He said he needed to talk to me about something. We stood in the living room, and my world fell apart. He started to cry, he said he was unhappy, his relationship with my mother wasn't the same and couldn't be changed, he needed to leave.  He said he would still come see us everyday, that our relationship wouldn't change. He asked me if I could tell my sister.  I was 19 years old, my sister was 13.

He was so convincing. I actually felt bad for him. I actually agreed to be the one to tell my sister. I actually can't even bring myself to recall any of the conversation I had with her. Her world shattered, her heart broken, and I had been the one to do it.

He packed his bags and left. Two months later he invited me out to dinner with him and a "friend". I was surprised to arrive and find it was a woman, a much younger woman.  I don't remember anything from that meal. I don't think I ate anything. I don't think I said a word.  I do remember going home, locking myself in my room, and crying, a lot.  My mom kept asking what was wrong and I couldn't even tell her, after having her husband of 20 years up and leave she was barely keeping it together as it was.

I didn't see him again for several months.

I didn't go back to school. I couldn't leave my mom and sister. My mom stopped sleeping, and became depressed. My sister started acting out, and became depressed. I was angry, lost, depressed. My life had become so cold and dark, a stark contrast to a life that was so filled with love and warmth. I was so alone and scared. Where was I going to go from here? My entire life plan had vanished.  This is not a good thing for a type A personality.

I had no health insurance (my Dad dropped us), I had no money for school (he was paying for that), I wasn't in school (where would I go?), I only had a part-time job ($7.50/hr isn't going to pay for college), and to top it all of my boyfriend and friends were so incredibly non-empathic I couldn't believe it. They couldn't even begin to understand how I was feeling. An overwhelming sense of hopelessness was creeping into my life.

The divorce completely wiped out my moms finances. We almost lost our home. It was a long messy divorce that finally ended on March 9. Funny how I remember that date.

My life before this was so Neat. I was surrounded by the greatest family and friends. I was social, organized, athletic, popular, happy, straight A student. I had a plan: Pharmacy school, buy house, get married, have babies. How did it all get so Tangled.

(To be continued)

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