Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Emotional day & there is no "fun" in a disfunctional family


Thank god for friends!!

Wow. What a day. Yesterday my day started with a vomiting child. I rranged to stay home part of the morning with her, with Jeremy coming home at noon to take over so I could go to work. Shortly thereafter I receive a visit from the Kenyon chief of police because a phone in my name called 911 and all they heard was screaming. Turns out that my daughters’ phone backpack-dialed 911 from the gym where the entire middle school was playing before school! Yikes!

I was frantic until it was discovered that all was well. All I could think of was she had been abducted; there was a school shooting. I find it so sad that is what I assumed was happening because it has happened so many times before in our world.
Before I can even get started on homework I get a call from my cousin. My uncle is dying and they are rallying the entire family. It didn’t look good for even getting there on time for me. I did. I got to spend time with my uncle and my family, and even got to talk to my brother whom I’ve not seen in a good 6-7 years. Not since my mom’s funeral.

My uncle has end-stage liver failure. It is not good. As of 8:03 this morning he slept for the first time in 4 days last night. He will be in the hospital a few more days. And if things continue to improve he will be released at the end of the week maybe. Then it’s just a waiting game. Wait and see how things progress. They went from a stage 1-4 very rapidly. I’m grateful for the day I spent with everyone. I hope to have a few more before I have to say goodbye.
I’m tired of saying goodbye. I am! I know that’s selfish. But I have said goodbye to too many.

As I was lying in bed hoping sleep would finally come to me at around 1:30 I got a text from Jeremy’s best friend. His girlfriend just died. She was 26 (I think). She had been battling cancer for the past few months. They took a tumor the size of softball out of her stomach. A sweet young woman. Ken finally was happy and starting to thrive after being screwed over immensely by his ex wife. His daughter loved Terri (the girlfriend) and things were GOOD! I can’t do much of anything but love my friend and be a good friend. So that’s what I’ll do.

Sitting around talking with my cousins at the hospital was interesting. My mom’s side of the family is about as dysfunctional as they come. Seriously. If you look up dysfunctional you will find a picture of the Scouton family.
My mom had 2 brothers. My grandparents were drunks. My mom and uncles all had their bouts with drink and drugs. My mom and one uncle had bouts with mental illness. They all have kids with multiple partners. They all have children that are estranged from them because of the drink/drugs/mental issues. I believe the drinking, drugs, and mental health issues are repeated throughout the family tree going back for many, many generations.

Has it stopped with ours? As I sat around the table looking at my cousins, I came to the conclusion that yes. I do believe that for the most part it has ended with us. Only a few of us have children and with one exception we do have good kids and healthy relationships with those kids. I can only speak for myself really, but my kids are good solid kids. I wasn’t a perfect mom. I didn’t have good role models for parents, with my step monster being the worst. So I made a few mistakes at first with my kids, but I got better and now we have great relationships. Or at least as good as one can have with teens and pre-teens.

My dad’s side of the family is normal. The exception being my dad, who is an asshole. He has decided that I and my children don’t exist. When I got divorced he told me I was a horrible mother for getting a divorce and was in fact, ruining my kids lives. He said I always said not having my mom around ruined my childhood. I had to correct him and say “no, it was having your wife hit me whenever she felt like it and you letting her that ruined my childhood”. He knew and never cared. That was the end of things.

Back in the 1980’s it was not a mandate that child abuse was reported. I told a teacher. He didn’t care. No one cared. My step monsters mom lived next door to me. She was the only one who cared and she did her best to help me whenever she could. I was very lucky to have her.

I would like to think that the reason she was so horrid to me was that she just didn’t know any better. But that isn’t the truth. She and my dad had a daughter. My sister was never hit. She never had black eyes, bruises, welts, or anything else. She was never grounded to the kitchen table for an entire summer.

That is why I made so many mistakes at the beginning with my oldest kids; mostly my oldest child. I didn’t know any better. I parented how I was parented. Then after getting irate because my daughter got her dress dirty before church one day I yanked on her to pull her into her bedroom and change her and I realized what I had been doing. I started to learn then to become a better parent. That there were other ways out there.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not a dysfunctional parent. And in time, my extended family will be more functional members than dysfunctional ones. I hope.
In the meantime I need to finish up this semester today, grieve for a loss, and cherish what I have. I hope you do the same. I hope I can continue to grow, change, and love.

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