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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All Good Things...

     Is it the end of an era? Perhaps.  On the last day of our vacation we made the rounds to say good-bye to everyone.  My father chose this time to rip me a new one.  He went off on a rant about how my brother and I act like we don't have a father.  How if it weren't for him...blah, blah, blah.  Which is basically a bunch of crap, because as I remember it, it was my mother who raised me and made all of the sacrifices that come along with that. 
     This all started back in April when I failed to send him a birthday card.  Yeah I know -terrible right? Not really.  Dad was gone on a cruise on his actual birthday so I figured I had time to get the card while he was gone.  The next thing you know...life is happening, too much time goes by and I never sent one.  Sue me!  I think I was a little resentful of the expectation like everyone owes him something.  He doesn't really want the card, he expects a gift of money.
      I like to give from my heart, not because I am expected to -like it's an obligation or a requirement.   I resent the implication that we owe him something. He is my father and I love him simply because of that fact. He brought fun, laughter and music to my life as a child.  He was fun dad on every other weekend or whenever.  There were times when he moved away when that wasn't even possible.  True he was only a phone call away.  But now that I'm a parent, I know what kind of sacrifice it takes to raise a child and I know that he did not make those sacrifices.  My mother did.  I watched her depressed and crying herself to sleep as she tried to figure out how to make ends meet.  I know that he did not contribute financially or otherwise on a regular basis.  He did what he could when he could.  Yes -I could call him for a new pair of shoes or to pay for senior pictures but he wasn't there for the everyday things.  And that's o.k. We got by.  I never had a hungry day. But to now have this expectation like I owe you my life really just gets underneath my skin.
      Well apparently he wasn't done yet.  When I got home there was an e-mail, basically cursing me out and calling my mother outside of he name.  I don't know what she had to do with his birthday card, but she became a target of his disgust. Could he be jealous of the close relationship I have with her? Well, in the years when my children were young and we didn't have a lot of money...she would send me money or a gift card every year for my birthday.  She knew it may be the only chance I had to shop.  Where as for him, there have been times, when my birthday came and went and he didn't even call.
     He's 80 years old and has diabetes.  Who knows how much longer he will be with us.  I can chalk this up to his age, perhaps senility.  I can try to forgive him but can I forget? Can I continue to allow him to totally disrespect my mother? Can I sit and listen when he continually trashes the men in our family -his sons? I don't think so. Where do we go from here? Today -I don't know. 


    

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Days of Summer

     What a shame that I haven't been able to write for weeks now. It's hard to have a complete thought or time to yourself when the kids are at home. They find hours to play on their computers but somehow -as soon as I sit down to write they come barging in wanting something.
We spent two weeks in California which was a welcome reprieve from the heat of Austin. We are on day 64 or something like that of 100+ degree temperatures. I can't tell you how much I hate it! The average temp in L.A. was around 75-80. That alone, made it worth the trip. The other saving grace was that we spent half the time away from the kids. Yay! They spent time with their uncles, cousins and grandparents which gave me time to spend with my friends and time alone with Alan once he joined us. The first week it was just the boys and I. Alan followed us out the second week.

      I spent a day of leisure with my Mom having lunch at the Grove, a lovely outdoor mall. We dined casually, had cocktails, went shopping at Nordstrom's and Chicos, and then had more cocktails. It was great! The weather was perfect and it was so nice not to have a deadline or the phone ringing with a child or a husband asking, "Where are you? When are you coming home?" My old friend and roommate Rebecca hosted me at her home for a night, followed by a day at Burke Williams the Spa in Pasadena. I was pampered from head to toe.  After which we enjoyed a yummy lunch, cocktails and conversation.  I spent a day at the beach with my friends Jenny and Mary, my girls from "back in the days" of being single and free. We went to Zuma in Malibu where I sat all day and marveled at the fact that my phone was not ringing. Jenny's children were at the beach, but thankfully, mine were not! I valued every moment of freedom and wished that I could have more like them. What a precious commodity -invaluable.
     Alan and I spent a weekend alone reconnecting in Long Beach, where we had casual lunches and dinners, attended the Long Beach Jazz Festival like we used to do in the days when we were dating. We had long conversations that did not involve any stressful deliberations over the care and rearing of our children. He told me all of the reasons why he loves and appreciates me and what we have together. We talked about what we've been through over the years, high points and low ones. It made me appreciate what we have together and what we often take for granted. We have a very strong bond that can get us through our stresses, differences and difficult times. It may not be all butterflies and sunshine, but what we have is really good even if we do drive each other nuts at times.
     We had several family parties to celebrate our being home. There was plenty of good food, old friends, cousins laughing and playing together. My heart blossomed as I watched my kids enjoying their family, having that sense of comfort and belonging. Everyone was so gracious in spending time with them showing them much needed love and attention. It was also good to see how well behaved they were with their relatives, which is much more than I can say about the time they spend with us -their parents. Kendal says, "that's because I feel more comfortable with you." Wow! Lucky me! I get to see the worst of him, because he knows that I love him unconditionally. 
     My brother and his wife were gracious hosts, allowing us to stay in their home on and off for two weeks. My brother has grown and matured into an exceptional, hands-on father. He openly shows love and affection and care to his children. I couldn't be more proud of him, especially because he didn't really have a role-model who took an active roll in our lives as we grew up. 
     Overall it was an amazing trip. Of course it wasn't perfect. Whenever you're around family, there has to be some controversy. I was surprised and disappointed by what happened the day before we left, but that's a story within itself. One that I'll have to tell another day...