©2021 Michael Raven
I know it is a sad thing to say that I am looking forward to the day that I don’t have to participate in all the familial shenanigans I’ve had to put up with for my whole life. Events of the day have reinforced that feeling I have that life will be much more simple once my parents have passed away.
I’ve spent my whole life dealing with…
On one side:
Constant unsolicited negative comments about any decision I’ve made, from appearance to lifestyle choices to education to childrearing to whatever that is not in alignment with my mother’s worldview about a given matter. Then, when she wants to have things done her way, she heaps on the whole Catholic guilt complex as thick as she can spread it — and wouldn’t you know that her way is the only way that is the “right” way. So, essentially, anytime something is done that is not in alignment with her opinion, she turns on the manipulation machine. To add to the issue, she lives in a fantasy history where everyone was all laughter and joy growing up, entirely ignoring the fact that most of the kids from my generation dealt with years of mental abuse by the boomers in our lives, family members who basically told us how we weren’t going to amount to much in our lives compared to them while they smoked and drank themselves into oblivion at every family gathering, which was almost every goddamn weekend (plus high holidays). As the black sheep of the family, I received the lion’s share of the mental abuse, but my mother conveniently forgets that was the case. Everything is Disneyfied in her memory, which is anything but the truth. And she seems hell-bent on trying to recreate this fantasy world of hers; and she’s not above manipulating everyone to make it happen.
On the other side:
I have a father who is the smartest, best person he knows. Everyone, including his son (me) is at best a level shy of being the local village idiot. It doesn’t matter the subject (he once argued with a sheet-metal worker about the best way to install ductwork, something the guy did for a living and that my father never did in his life). And he’s unafraid to let you know just how stupid you are, especially me. The man, when he was physically around when I was younger, was mentally absent doing something else that he found more worthwhile. When he was mentally present, he was abusive both physically and mentally (although not to the point where I had to hide the physical abuse — but he did slug me once in the face for being 15 minutes past curfew because the city transit ran behind schedule and would have hit me more if I hadn’t kneed him in the balls and squirmed away). To this day, conversations with his are about all about him and how much smarter he is than the rest of the idiot world, and he doesn’t seem to feel the need to show respect to other people (anyone at all) now that he’s in his mid-70s.
It turns out my parents may have potentially had a secondary exposure to the coronavirus within the past 48 hours. The person was in their home to sign paperwork for something. Supposedly, they were all masked, but my parent’s have shown time and time again that they consider masking to be a mere formality and often don’t in high risk areas because they are “Vaccinated(!)” and therefore don’t consider that breakthrough cases are occurring all over the place in our area right now (including the Minnesotan with the new omicron variant who was masked and boosted when he somehow got it in New York City.
I just got boosted with the vaccine last night, and my twin daughters were finally eligible to get their second dose of the vaccine (they are under 12). We are all three technically immunocompromised until our bodies figure out the antibodies needed to fight the vaccine. They have almost two weeks of school left before the break and I have my upcoming trip to consider.
This weekend is the weekend I was going to leave the twins with their grandparents for a night and a day so I could go pick up the new kitten.
Even though the person who may have been exposed (by her husband) has tested negative (so far), I felt it was best to look into alternative arrangements to mitigate the risks of them getting it, as a breakthrough case or otherwise (technically, they are not fully vaccinated until just after Christmas). I figured that it would be best on the off-chance that the woman shed any viruses while she was at my parent’s home to keep the kids out until a few more negative tests came up. Perhaps overly cautious, but that’s my decision as a parent, right?
Holy fuck! No!
Dad went on a tirade, cussing and swearing about how stupid the whole thing was and FOR FUCK’S SAKE, that woman tested negative (less than 24 hours after finding out her husband got it), GODDAMN IT, MICHAEL.
Then a slew about how idiotic the decision I made as a parent to protect my own children was.
He forgets: I am estranged from my sister exactly because of the idea that she felt she was a better judge of risk to my children’s lives when she brought my eldest daughter into a neighborhood known for gun violence and daytime open drug dealing without consulting me first. Or even asking if it was okay for my daughter to be late home from a function (we had plans, so it wasn’t okay). And then… I find out my sister didn’t think I needed to know her fiancé had done time for murder in a gang-related shooting, nor that she had loaded weapons in her house in spite of his parole forbidding him from having firearms in the place he lived. I get that people can change, but there was another series of decisions that I was not allowed to weigh in on. And then — she told me she would be a better parent than me, anyway. Apparently, she’d decided I was a terrible parent to my daughter, whom she saw only once a week for a few hours (at most).
She has yet to apologize to me for any of that. And she still tells people that I’m a jackass.
So, you see, I’m not afraid to say: no contact with my kids until you can show me you respect my decisions as their legal parent.
Dad has come mighty close to crossing that line today. And, fuck him if he thinks I’m bringing them over for the holidays until he apologizes for his rude fucking outburst. You can not like my decisions, but I will not have anyone using that kind of language in expressing disagreement with those decisions. Fuck him.