Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Turn, turn

I am moving out a house that two of my children were born in. I am moving into a house where a father died. The weight of these pieces falling into place hit me smack dab in the ventricles today. On July 11th I think there won't be enough Lexapro in circulation to keep me from sobbing uncontrollably at the closing tables.

One of the days we were looking at our new house I found a four leaf clover near the driveway. It's the size of a lentil and I saw it immediately when I looked down. First one I've ever actually spied growing in my life up until that point.

The very first time we toured our new home I was initially underwhelmed. Like bored. But as I walked the halls, opened doors, crept around the grounds, it grew on my like the spongy, welcoming moss that envelopes the earth around one of our trees.

We will be happy there (we'll be happy anywhere, don't get me wrong). But this house feeeeels sooooo riiiiight. And I feel equally at peace leaving our current home. It served us beautifully. My hot husband and I have grown so much here. So many fights, evolutions, jobs, worries, hopes, births, birthdays. We've had sex in every single room. Except the garage. I think. Mighta been drunk that time.

We owned the shit out of this house, damn it. And we'll own the next one, too.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I promised

Because of him I love the smell of petroleum. When he'd come home from work (he ran the printing press at our local newspaper) the smell of gasoline & ink clung to him like powdered sugar on cake and I drank it in like lemonade.

He was my favorite. He didn't yell (at me). He never drank. He made my school lunches & I look just like him.

When my parents told me they were getting a divorce, it was his soft, mushy white t-shirt clad belly I buried my face into and cried.

I knew he was far from perfect. I knew my mother, her mother and all of her sisters hated him. I knew he was embarrassing, running like a MADMAN onto the football field when a Pop Warner kid went down. Gut churning, sweat flying, tackle box full of EMT tools bouncing and bouncing and bouncing. I knew the neighborhood kids (and adults) thought he was a buffoon when he'd come bursting out of the house, SCREAMING & YELLING and demanding justice for his kid during a game of kick-ball.

I loved him most anyway. Like I said, he didn't yell at me. He never hit me and he promised me the world. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. He PROMISED. He promised.

I was 11 when my parents divorced he disappeared and over the years his lack of remarkableness settled in like soot.

He came to my high-school graduation and when I was about 20, he took my brother and I out to a movie and to the diner for dinner.

He has never met my husband or any of my children. The last few times we talked, he asked for money. Like, lots of money. Could we buy his house for him and let him live in it? Could we pay for him to re-locate to another state?

And the very last time I heard from him, I got copied in on one of those fucking mind numbing, infuriating chain mails that INSIST that Jesus WON'T LOVE YOU ANYMORE unless you forward the fucking thing to 20 people. Dick doesn't even know that I'm an Atheist.

Now I know he also has Fragile X. The gift that keeps on giving and he didn't have to spend a dime! Sweet, isn't it?

Friday, June 10, 2011

I promise, the next one will be about my father

When I was 16 I had an abortion. My mother had no idea. Or maybe she did. I have no idea. When I had my follow up appointment at my local Planned Parenthood I told her it was about time I went to a gynecologist. She didn't argue, didn't encourage. So off I went. When I got home I showed her the receipt that had the diagnosis codes and descriptions. The paper clearly said it was a post termination check up and that I was given birth control pills. She said nothing.

I had been back living in her house just a few months when all of this went down and maybe she didn't want to drum up any more trouble with my step father? I still have no idea.

That year was so insane. I was kicked out of my house and sent to live in Holbrook, MA for several months, stalked by my step father, physically assaulted by him, doing shitty in school and the day I drove to Rockland County to have the abortion, I was pulled over by the police and taken to the station and interrogated because my car and person fit the description of a runaway. Do you parents know where you are they asked? Uhm, HELL NO! Can we call them? NO! They finally let me go, go to have general anesthesia and drive myself home 3 hours later.

My mother was not a willing participant in her life. She didn't want children, but she was supposed to have them so here we are! Yay!

I have a few really lovely memories of her and I remember for a long time (a few years?) thinking she was a fun, good person.

But I also remember getting paddled with a spatula for lighting the matches left in my room by my uncle who was staying with us. He worked nights and slept in my bed all day when I was at school. He had a brown paper bag with porn, cigarettes and matches under my mattress. So this guy was allowed to jerk off in my bed and smoke butts but I get wailed on for lighting those matches in an ash tray?

I remember pooping in my pants long after that was acceptable. I was punished. Sent to my room to feel like a loser with shitty pants and no dinner. I was handed a harsher sentence for soiling myself than I was for driving our Pinto wagon into someone's hedges & porch.

My mother didn't drive me anywhere she didn't absolutely have to. She farted in front of my friends. She gave me a package of maxi pads the day I came home with my period soaked culottes (I was 11).

My mother had a pretty shitty childhood and couldn't wait until mine and my brother's were over. She has no idea what kind of people her children and grand children are.

I don't feel sorry for myself. And I'm not angry. Mostly because I have the greatest inlaws in the world. They are the parents I waited 28 years for.

I've just been thinking a whole lot about that 16th year of my life and how it solidified the structure of the relationship I have with my mother today. Have you ever been to Hong Kong? The scaffolding that surrounds the spanking new high-rises that go for miles and miles into the air are made entirely of bamboo. Lashed together with rope. Take away the rope and that's about right.