Sorry – this one is a couple of days late.
My parents don’t get along. I mean really don’t get along at all. I’m not sure I can stress this enough. My father always seemed to be doing what he did in the best interest of the children. My mother on the other hand was in a money grab and used leverage. This was nothing out of the norm from before the divorce however.
From about age seven until age fifteen, I was keenly aware that my parents did not have a good marriage. I remember telling my friends that my parents were going through a divorce. Ironically, they managed to keep going and going (along the way they also had two more kids). My parents were a mismatch from the beginning, and if I had not entered the picture they might not have gotten together. They did and now for some historical information.
My father attempted to be the disciplinary or the family, my mother was the enabler. She was very much the enabler. If my father tried to set something down (this is looking back mind you), my mother would take a position just to be the opposite of him. Of course if my mother wanted to agree with him, I could just bring out that everyone was doing something, this would normally allow me to gain her consent.
Now some of this I remember and some of this is stories passed down, I’m going to try to remove the bias and just give you some examples:
When we were living in Elyria, we didn’t make a ton of money. Sometimes we were scraping by month to month. It something that happens to a lot of families, and even as an adult I still find myself doing that most the time. One month we had twenty dollars left in the bank account. My father was counting on this money to provide lunch meat for himself for work. My mother on the other side had other plans. Knowing full well how much money was in the bank she went out and bought wash clothes, effectively draining the bank account.
My mother was never happy with what she had. My father was constantly remodeling to her tastes. He learned a lot of things about working on a house, so I guess you could say that’s a good thing. I however remember the house always being in the state of flux as some project or another was constantly being performed. Of course now as an adult I leverage my father for knowledge he gained from that experience, but my wife can’t live in that sort of atmosphere. So that tidbit is something to take for taste.
During the early nineties my mother decided she wanted her own money. That’s a good thing. She decided she was going to make dolls and enlisted my father and my grandmother on her venture. She made enough to buy a living room set after hours and hours of labor and sewing on all three of them. I remember I did a bit of stuffing myself, but I don’t believe I did much else. Now you would think that this is a good example of the family working together. However, my mother didn’t seem to understand the concept of “cost of manufacturing”. She believed that it was pure profit and just poo poo’ed all the money that it cost to create the dolls before sales. Thinking back I hope my father set the profit margin, since my mom would have probably sold them for a loss and then went “Golly, look at all the money I have from sales”.
Before moving on to the post divorce era I’m going to relate one last story. There was a movie I wanted to see (I was 15) – it was “People Under the Stairs” and I wanted to go with a friend. My father said no, it was an R rated movie and he didn’t want me to go. My mother snuck money to me and dropped me off to see the movie. She was in full enabler mode. Later when my father found out the fight between them was explosive, don’t mix two volatile chemicals together. I have my father issues I may write about another time, but this month is about mom.
After the divorce my father and I didn’t talk for a few years. We talked lightly after awhile, but it didn’t start getting regular until I was traveling for consulting. This led to a whole new ball game in dealing with them. I didn’t want to accidently pass information from one side to another, but at the same time I had to make my feelings known. I would get my fahter to talk about things my mother had told me – indirectly inquiring. I also did the same thing on the reverse.
The problem is I normally sided with my father’s point of view. I was this go between, trying to maintain peace on each side of the family. When I first moved into my house i was in the middle of everyone, so my house was going to be the holiday get together place. A Switzerland where neither side could fight. Well that didn’t last long before i stopped talking ot my mother.
The most interesting thing was the Thanksgiving when we first moved back to Ohio. On my father’s side all of his siblings still get together the weekend after Thanksgiving to have a family meal. My brother lives next door to my father. My mother was staying at my Brother’s house that day……
Somehow, in some wierd mix up of the galaxy, my mother invited herself over to my father’s house. (I’ve mentioned that they do not get along at all). Her excuse was to see all of my aunt’s and uncles who could care less about her. The rest of the family completely agrees that she was there only to see the house and see how my father was doing. I don’t know how she managed ot get the nerve, but I wouldn’t enter the den of a place where I know I’m not wanted.
But maybe she just wanted to see if my father’s curtains made her look fat……..