Growing up I had an ideal childhood until about the age of 7. My dad, although he was and still is a selfish man, he was home for dinner, he played with us, my parents seemed to really get along well and have a relatively happy marriage. At the time I had a brother who was a newborn and another one who was 6. When my mom got pregnant with my youngest brother my dad was not real happy. He liked being doted upon by my mom and liked her attention despite the fact that she had the 2 of us at the time, there was still time for him. I suppose it made things easier for them having 2 kids. The third kid made the scale tip the other way.
When my mom was 7 months pregnant with my youngest brother, after having 2 miscarriages, my dad told her that he had an affair. He said he was ashamed of himself and it would never happen again. My mom was devastated but believed in what he was telling her about it never happening again. I guess at the time he could not live with the guilt of carrying that piece of information with him.
After my brother was born, things seemed to be ok for me and my brother who was 2 years my junior. My parents went out together and even went away on vacations together and left the grandparents to tend to us.
Then when I was 10 and my brothers were 8 and 2, I recall my parents having a HUGE fight. They were both standing by the front door and screaming at each other. I was scared and took my brothers to my room. We peaked out the door to find my dad with a suitcase in hand and my mom with her coat on. I was crying and my brothers were also crying, we for sure felt that they were both going to leave us behind. I grabbed my 8 yr old brother and we ran to the front door where we parked ourselves screaming and crying and blocked it with our bodies for fear of being left alone. We did not want our folks to leave us. As I recall no one left the house, but the screaming did continue and my dad ended up sleeping on the couch.
Years later I found that indeed my dad had done it again, he cheated on my mother. Growing up I had found out that my dad never really stopped having affairs from the time I was 8. My mom chose to stick her head into the sand, not wanting to know. Her sister, my aunt, who worked with my dad would call me, at the time I was 17-18 and tell me when things were going on with my dad and other women. She answered the phone and knew first hand.
I would confront my father and defend my mother even to the point where I threw my father out of the house myself. I came home one evening from a date with a high school boyfriend, I wanted to introduce him to my parents, I opened the front door and found my mom had drank almost an entire bottle of vodka and passed out in the hallway. I was beside my self since this guy was coming to meet my parents and this is what he stepped into. Actually to my surprise it did not phase him as his parents divorced because of his dads drinking. He helped me bring my mom to her bed, he left.
An hour or so later, my moms friend came over, she had been away. I found out that my mom called her and told her that she had received a call from a woman who said that she was planning on marrying my father and that he was leaving all of us for her and her children. After moms friend left, mom was still asleep, I gathered my dads stuff from his closet and threw it onto the front lawn. I can just imagine what the neighbors thought, but I was so angry I did not care.
My dad came home and he was livid. He was “away on a business trip” and when he returned to find his stuff strewn all over the place he was pissed. We had a few words with one another and he told me, like he always did, that he had no idea what I was talking about. That all those things I said were false. I was hysterical and his story kept on changing as always. I walked out and went to stay with my friend and her family for a few days.
My mom let him back into the house of course and things were back to “normal” for them. I could never forgive my father. This was basically my teen years.
Finally I became emancipated, got married and moved out. The fights continued and my father never stopped his cheating ways. My parents would fight often, mostly about my fathers clothing. He hated shopping and would always come home with new clothing on and we all knew he had those chosen by one of his lady friends. The stories we lived with were so obviously lies it became tiring after a while.
When I got pregnant with my first child, who I knew it was a girl, my husband, my brother and my parents went out for dinner. Afterwards I chose to go with my parents to a movie and the other 2 guys went home.
On the way to the theater my parents got into a huge fight, once again about my dads tie. It was such a heated argument and here I was in the back seat 8 months pregnant. At the first traffic light I got out of the car. Hindsight, probably not the best thing to at a major intersection being pregnant. My mother came after me. Me in tears now said to her, “if you do not divorce him, you will never have a relationship with this little girl I am carrying. I never want her to think it is okay for a man to treat a woman the way you allow him to treat you”.
From that time forward my mom actually had the courage to divorce him, 36 years after they were married. My dad has since been in a bunch of relationships.
Once they got divorced he was cut off from his three children by his choice. He never reached out to us until he got remarried to a women who was 1 year my senior. She reached out to me and my brothers. Despite us telling her to steer clear of him, she married him anyway.
My dad has virtually no relationship with me, my two brothers or any of his 7 grandchildren. I try justifying it saying it is the best for everyone, but someplace despite the pain from the past and the heartache and insecurities we all have inbred in us now thanks to him, being an adult I realize there were a lot more things that I was not seeing between my parents. The behind the closed doors things that I cannot truly only blame my father, it has to also be my mothers fault. What they should have done is gone for marriage counseling a long time ago. They should have taken into account the scars and insecurities written into our lives now with indelible ink parents have in their pen of life.
Once children are in the picture, any action a parent takes affects the lives of their children, not only them and their significant other. It is all of these incidents that make us who we are as adults. Be the best you can be as a parent, a spouse, a partner, a lover, a friend, and your children will certainly turn out that way too. Or they can go through a hard time trying to figure out life on their own and making the best of it for themselves that they can do without ever looking at their parents as role models.
I was fortunate enough to recognize this huge family problem we had and to volunteer to years of talking about it with a therapist to deal with it and to learn to trust again. Many people who come from this type of family situation end up entering into one similar and the cycle keeps turning and turning.
I am so happy to say that I married an amazing man, whom it took a while to trust because of my past. But he has persevered and stuck with me through the thick and thin, I know its love that has glued us so tightly together and helped us get to the place we are today. I have three amazing children who make me smile each and everyday. I thank god for giving me these gifts in my life and for giving me the knowledge to know that the life my parents had is not the kind of life I wanted for myself.
I hope that this post can help someone out there if they find themselves in a situation like the one I lived through. If you are a kid living through something similar, just know that it does not have to be the same way for you as it was for your folks. I am living proof that anything can be overcome with love.