Thursday, April 20, 2006

Family Blather: Redux

In one of the few instances in my life that I can remember, I am powerless and helpless. I, being the one who is always in control, must sit on the sidelines. I'm not cheering for anyone, and you might be able to say I am rooting against certain forces at work.

Mom moved in with me back in September after her house sold. The premise was that she would stay with me during the week and work, while going home on the weekends, all the while looking for a job down there. When the move first occurred, there were some things we all understood because she told us: she hated her current job, she was looking forward to being down at the cabin full time, and there was nothing wrong in her marriage.

The other day after grocery shopping, Mom decided to drop a big bomb on my head. She was no longer in love my stepdad, and was wanting out. She said that is was such a weight off her shoulders to tell me this. Yes, weight off her shoulders, and directly onto mine.

For the past couple of months, I figured something was amiss. She would take small quirks about my stepdad and pick them apart as if they were great human flaws. She was spending a significant time on the computer and being secretive about it. She was dressing differently. She was wearing more makeup (this, my brother had to point out). It was as if the world shifted on it's axis. Something was wrong, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I knew it because I have felt it before.

She says she's not doing this because she thinks the grass is greener in Singleland (where I seem to be a permanent resident). She denies that there is a third party. She loves her job so much, and she can't wait to advance.

I find all of the above to be bullshit, despite what she says.

Yes, there is a third party. I know this because she has been careless enough to leave her instant messages on my computer. Some mornings, when I get up to go read the news, that is the morning greeting I get: my mother telling some stranger over the internet how much she loves him, and denying the fact that she is even married. I fairly confident she has talked with this guy over the phone, but whether they have met in person...I don't know. I don't know if I want to know.

When my mother and my biological father separated, my mother went the route of the party girl...and I got to hear about her antics from a lot of kids at school. I hated her for it. I hated her for leaving her kids with a monster, so she could go out partying. She left my father because of his excessive drinking and womanizing...only for her to go out and do the same thing (but with men). It took me a long, long time to get over that.

When I was about 15, I remember that my parents went out one night and came home late. I remember being awake and sitting at the top of the stairs and listening to them argue. I remember Mom crying to my Dad that he didn't love her, and asking him to tell her that he did. So, I sat there on the stairs, my fist in my mouth, silently willing my Dad to tell Mom what she wanted to hear, just thinking that it would make everything better. Well, Dad never said anything...he just went to his room and passed out, leaving Mom sobbing in the living room.

I'm 31 years old now, and once again, I feel like that 15 year old sitting on the top of the stairs. My mother has taken my father's place in this little scene, and my stepdad is now the one who just wants his wife to tell him that she loves him.

My stepdad...who has never hit her, never cheated on her. He stills calls her Darlin'. He is the one who took my brothers in when my father died. He's been more of a father to us than our real father. He's a great person, and when my mother married him, her children were relieved. She had said she found her soulmate.

Most women go their entire lives looking for the very thing my mother is going to throw away for some illusion she has created for herself...because she thinks that life should be more exciting for a 51 year old. She's so wrapped up in her job now, but I can't tell her that no person on earth died wishing they had spent more time at work. I think your job is just something that pays the bills, but shouldn't define you as a person.

In some ways, I feel horrible guilt, and I don't know why. I have always, ALWAYS taken a hard line against adultery in marriage, and it's made worse when it happens close to home. Even if nothing has happened, the concept of it happening is just as bad...if you do it in your heart, you're just as guilty.

I feel immense sadness for the man who only wanted to take care of his wife, the one I have come to know as my Dad. I feel immense anger at my mother for the collision course she has set us on...and I am powerless to prevent.

And in some ways, I feel as though I am losing my father all over again. I am reliving things I shouldn't be. I'm finding that I am starting to have doubt in marriage, but the one thing that saves me is thinking about Kathryn's parents.

I don't know if this is something appropriate to write, but sometimes, it just helps me to see my words. Plus I thought that maybe somebody out there might have some words of advice, or even encouragement. Lord knows I need it right now, because right now, I feel as though I carry the weight of the world on my back...all the while wearing a brave face.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

It will all be Ok. I will pray for you and your mom and Jerry and everyone else. This isn't your fault. Your mom has to make her own choices even if they are not the right ones or the ones you would choose for yourself. I love you dearly and wish I were there.