If It Makes You Happy

Sometimes it sneaks up on me, and sometimes it follows me around like a cloud for weeks, but I always think about my father too much at this time of year.

Just when I think  am over the dismal reality of the whole thing, of our failed relationship, somehow it always comes up again, and I’m right back there, ticking off all of the rotten stuff he’s done over the years, counting on my fingers as I list off the reasons he is not in my life.

To be honest, even though I always trot out the same atrocities, it is not those things that keep me awake at night.  I do think it ‘s terrible that he had my sister sterilized knowing full well that she was signing away her rights without the ability to know what she was doing, but I also know that it was from the best of intentions.  He had no right to do such a thing, and it was an incredible violation, but it is not the thing that makes my toes curl in horror when I recount it.

What scares me to my very core is when I think that once upon a time, one day very long ago, my father and my mother were just the same as us, as Erik and me.  They were young and in love and living in a tiny house, taking too many pictures and pasting the graph of my mother’s contractions in my baby book.  Sometimes I feel like I watch my life, half removed, and it takes my breath away when I think of how my mother and father once sat up late at night talking about their babies and how today, they haven’t spoken in decades, how that baby book they pasted those pictures in has long since been discarded.  Life can be one way one minute and an entirely different way thirty years later, and that?

That is what keeps me up at night.  To be honest with you.

16 Responses

  1. I’m a lurker coming from Janssen’s blog (Everyday Reading), but I just had to comment. I don’t know if you’ve posted some other time about your sister, but wow, that would be a hard situation.

    My in-laws are divorced and it is hard now to imagine them talking about my husband and his siblings as babies, and they’ve only been divorced for two years. It makes me anxious to think of how quickly life can change.

  2. I do know. My husband’s parents divorced after a stillbirth tore them apart (or, I guess, they more drifted apart). It scares me to think any all-to-common tragedy could drive a wedge between us.

  3. Oh, man. That IS dismal.

  4. Love you, E.

  5. I haven’t been reading that long so I don’t know whether your sister’s having Down syndrome played a part in their break-up. I am the mother of a child with Down syndrome though, and I am so, so grateful that SO FAR our life’s unexpected turn has truly cemented my husband’s and my relationship. I can see how it could easily go another way.

    As far as your father’s decision to have your sister sterilized…wow. I’m just so curious about that process, your mother’s involvement, etc. Please know it’s not just voyeuristic, my interest comes from my own tough decisions I’ll have to make as a parent (my child is a boy, something I’m also grateful for).

    Anyway, I’m sorry that your family was split, whatever the reasons. Thanks for sharing and I hope it’s helpful to you.

  6. Oh, Elizabeth. I’m so sorry. And I love you.

  7. oh man. I know. You have to hope it’ll be better, though, right?

    (you probably know the poem “I Go Back to May 1937” but if not…http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/176442)

    I don’t think I knew that about your sister. Or maybe I blocked it out. What a terribly difficult thing, for all of you.

  8. I think that would keep me up at night too.

  9. Love you. That’s it.

  10. For reasons I won’t delve into here, I have had the exact same thought about my parents this very week. About how once they were very much like me and my husband: crazy about each other with two kids they love desperately. And now… well. Same deal as you. Except my father is dead.
    How does it even happen? I don’t think I’ll ever understand.
    But it does keep me up at night. A lot.
    You’re not the only one.

  11. sorry you are dealing with tough stuff. Hugs.

  12. I used to worry about this thing all the time until I actually got divorced. My divorce wasn’t pretty and even though I tried desperately to keep it civil for Sprog, that’s not the way it went down…now that I’m remarried, my current husband is the one that worries about this. It’s like I’m wearing a bright red D on my chest because I’ve been divorced before, he assumes that it would be easier for me to get divorced again. While I feel the exact opposite. I never want to go through that shit ever again, I feel completely 100% solid and committed to my marriage.

    It’s not all romance and roses up in here, or butterflies in the stomach (most the time, still happens on occasion) but it’s more that I just feel comfortable here, like it’s where I was supposed to be all along.

    My parents…are people I can never imagine having been happy together.

    *hugs* Processing “Father Crap” is hard, I’m sorry you are dealing with it right now.

  13. It’s what keeps me up at night too. So sorry you’re having a tough time. Seems like these things always follow the “times of year.”

  14. I’m sorry. That sounds really hard. I can relate.

  15. As a member of the divorced parents club – I share your ugh. You really do have a happy loving family though – you guys are doing great. And damn you are so crafty – that counts for a lot. And by crafty I mean the making of crafts and not wily.

  16. What a terribly sad idea. Bart’s parents are divorced and I cannot imagine what it must have been like. For them or for him.

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