Monday, September 12, 2011

The Rocker and The Old Lady

My sister, Kiki, and I traveled down to see my Mom this weekend. She moved away a few months ago to St. Pete and we have been dying to see her new life. I swear it wasn't that I needed a break from real life and would go anywhere there weren't kids. OK, you caught me, it was both. Anyway, we planned it a couple of weeks ago and it fell through and ran off together for a very long drive down there this past weekend. The ride was uneventful other than to say, I do not like Monster green. That crap tastes like an extra sweet, almost thick, sour patch kid candy. The sour part kicks you in the teeth after you swallow. Please, just take my word for it.

I noticed something between my Mom and I right away. The Old Lady is recovering from breast implants. While some people may think it is ridiculous to fix those saggy bags at her age, she wanted to spice up her new life and that is exactly what she did! She looks amazing! This picture is my sister, Kiki, and Mom with their new boobs. I think they have both gone from an A to a D. I think they have been jealous of my G for years.

Exhausted, Kiki and I went to bed. It became very clear that Kiki had no intention of sharing the pillows. We giggled until 4:30 AM. What is it about old people? They need the house to be 80 degrees. We managed not to melt away but I was worried my alleged snoring might wake her. I brought her ear plugs. The next morning she assured me the snoring wasn't a problem but me sitting straight up screaming at her that I was snoring was. Yes, I sat up in my sleep and yelled that I was snoring. I'll try to work on that.

While my mother lives in a nice part of town, I was a little concerned when we found this homeless man on her porch enjoying himself like he lived there. LOL Actually, that is her man. I know he looks vicious but he is not. After spending time with him this weekend, both my sister and I were amazed at how fast he grows on you. He is deeply sensitive, funny, warm, welcoming, and is obviously VERY in love with my Mom. Let me be completely honest, anyone willing to take her, can have her.

They drove us all around their little town and he made sure we got to the sweet spot so we could witness this. He took us to the top of a restaurant and we waited. He promised we would love it. We did.

I want to take a minute and share their story with you. Not because it has anything to do with me or my life but because the story needs to be told. Many years ago, a young greaser kid stumbled upon a teenage girls' pajama party. Being a young strapping stud, he knocked on the door and met by a dozen giggling girls in lace baby doll nighties. He offered beer, they let him in. One of those girls was my mother.

They began to date and eventually ran away to be together. They hitchhiked across the country to meet his family. They had signed him up for the Army on his 17th birthday and he wasn't welcome to stay there. The teenagers decided to run off and get married. They did. They found a boarding house and jobs. They were happy. Soon they discovered they were pregnant with my sister, Julie. He couldn't have been more in love than he was with the two girls in his life.

The first few years were great. They were deeply in love. They were broke. My Mom was terribly homesick. He wanted her to see her family and saved for a ticket to send them there for the holidays. Once there, her family began to convince her that he wasn't stable and she would be happier if she stayed. Torn, she eventually agreed to stay with her sister. She begged him to move there and get a job. He got rid of everything they had and bought an old truck. He never imagined what was about to happen. Now that she was a mother, her need for stability would outweigh her love for him.

Things weren't as he had hoped once he arrived. My Mother had changed. Many of the women in my family have the knack of shutting someone out completely. My Mother, my sisters, and even me. It is a coping skill we use when things hurt. We shut off our emotions and cut the people off. My Mother was doing this to him because she thought it was the right thing to do for her child. He wasn't dangerous, he just wasn't welcome in her family and she felt she needed their support to raise her daughter. It was a decision she regretted all her life and still has tremendous guilt over. Eventually, she filed for divorce. Devastated, he left town. He never stopped loving them. He never stopped calling her his wife. He intentionally never remarried or had any other children. He had that already.

My Mother remarried and my sister was adopted by her new husband. Times were different. He wasn't encouraged to keep contact and was even run off by my Mother's family. Everyone worked hard to convince him that he wasn't good enough and she was better off without him. He respected her enough to think she must have known what she was doing.

When I hear this story, I see a boy that would have felt rejected from his first family, his wife, the world because he doesn't fit into their idea of what he should be, and now as he is reaching the end of his life and is reaching out hoping to fill in the hole he has carried for years, he is rejected by his only child. She wants nothing to do with him. Nothing. She is angry. She is using the coping skill handed down to the women in our family. She is missing out. The worst part is that they are so much alike. They could learn so much from each other. Even writing this, I'm crying for their loss. They missed so many years and now he has cancer. She is punishing him now for leaving her behind. The details about what happened don't matter to her.

My sister isn't someone that comes across as caring or supportive. She comes across as stubborn with a need to be right. She will argue with a wall to prove her point. She can't look past your faults and find something charming about you. She will search your soul until she finds what she knew was there all along. She isn't going to get in and get dirty, she is going to spend her time proving she was right. We are complete opposites. She may seem unemotional but she is really just protecting herself. I'm not saying she is awful, she is not. We are just very different and we struggle to see each others point of view. I think she is so scared of loss, she refuses to feel. I feel way too much. Neither is good. We do not have a relationship. She is my sister, I love her, but really she is just a woman I have known all my life. It is sad to me that my children do not know her or know that her daughter is their cousin. They can't remember her name or face. It breaks my heart. Now she is shutting out another person in her life. I wish it was just her loss but it's his, too. She has complete control over it and maybe that's what this is all about, control. I know she feels abandoned. She won't allow him in or give an inch. She will fight tooth and nail to prove he wasn't worthy any way.

Her daughter doesn't have a relationship with her father either. She was given an ultimatum, it may have not been a direct conversation but she has made her feel like it was him or her mom. Her daughter has chosen not to find him out of respect for her. It is very similar to how adult adoptees feel in closed adoptions. It's sad. On the other side of that is me. I parent children and force whatever healthy relationships with their first families that I can. I open our home and hearts to anyone willing to love my children. Some of the people in our lives are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they have mental illnesses, and some have spent time in prison. As long as they are safe, they are welcome. Call me crazy, but I look past those things and find reasons to like them. We may not agree on many things, but we find common ground. This is not a skill or an interest she has. Perhaps she views this as a weakness, who knows?

I am choosing to get to know him. I want my children to see how he treats my Mom. I need to see her happy for the first time in my life. I completely support their life together. He waits on her hand and foot. It is amazing to watch. In his love for her, he loves us. My sister doesn't get this. She can't fathom how he could love her daughters much less his own daughter because he doesn't know her as adult. She couldn't be more wrong. I'm not sure how to explain it to her. It is real, I could feel it. Maybe I get it because I love my childrens first mothers. I don't have to know all about them, I love them, no strings attached. To me love is a choice. I know this will be one the hardest things my sister ever does, I hope she chooses to look past his rough exterior and see the gentle man inside.

We learned things about my Mom this weekend. Some good and some we'd love to forget. We felt her connection to her first love that hasn't faded with time. We watched her go from our strong mother to a teenage girl when he walked in the room. We saw her sit back and be taken care of. It is nothing short of amazing that these 2 people could have fallen in love almost 50 years ago and reconnected after all these years, but that is exactly what has happened. I couldn't be happier for them. They deserve happiness during whatever time they have left.


Sheri said...

Absolutely beautiful and heart wrenching story! Keeping all of you in my prayers that your sister understands sooner rather than later!

robyncalgary said...

what an amazing story, thank you for sharing <3

schnitzelbank said...

This is a beautiful story. I wish you all peace. Thank you for sharing.

Kate said...

I want to thank you for nearly getting me kicked out of class! I thought I'd never be able to stop laughing again after I read of your "sleep screaming" LMAO!

Thank you for sharing that story. Beautiful.

Kate said...

Oh, just wanted to add... your older sister sounds so similar to my mother its uncanny.
Your true acceptance of everyone and ability to love and welcome people is so inspiring and wonderful. <3

Kelly said...

What a wonderful a sweet romantic drama you would pay $10 to see on the big screen. They look so happy!!