Becoming the parent I never had

Is it in the genes to just grow up and be the same as your parents?

Is it inevitable that we will say and act the same way they did?

Is it an unbreakable cycle?

Growing up I never knew who my biological father was. I had these weird memories of some huge burly guy seeing me tear off the labels on my brand new food play set and asking if I was suppose to do that and then turning to go tell my paternal grandmother. I had this memory for 7 years before I finally met him. When I was 1 or 2 he decided that he didn’t want me. Drugs were more important. By the time I met him, he had remarried and they had a child together, a son, which is what he wanted all along. I was respectful to him as I had been taught to do. But I just couldn’t hug him and say Daddy! He was huge, well over 6 feet and well over 300 lbs. I was terrified of him. And I was angry and cautious. He left once why wouldn’t he do it again?

My mom needed to work to give me everything I had or so she said. So I lived at my maternal and paternal grandparents house, only seeing my mom twice a week. Almost like a custody agreement. 1 week here and 1 week there. But they were like best friends. If I wanted to go to see the other set it was no problem. We would all get together and go out to the beach, dolphin watches and to get ice cream. That’s how I remember family days; 2 grandpa’s and two grandma’s.

When I would see my mom, we would usually go out shopping since that was the only way she knew to show me her love was to buy me stuff. And then we would go out to eat. After it was back to my grandparent’s house. As long as I was quiet and sweet and innocent, then our visit went smoothly. But if I decided to be normal and act out, it was awful. I would get verbally abused for being stupid and making a simple mistake like spilling something. If I mouthed off I would get threatened to get beaten, one time it took my cocker spaniel getting between me and my mom with her fly swatter to get her to back off.

There is one thing I had for both my parents and it wasn’t admiration and love; it was fear! I was scared of my parents and their erratic and explosive tempers. So I always tried to be the peace maker.

Then it all changed!

I was 16 and pregnant long before it was cool to be on a reality show for it. And suddenly I had this precious little baby inside me that needed me to be strong. And her biological father was also physically and emotionally abusive to me.

And then I snapped! I left him behind never to see his child again (2 years later I was strong enough to fight him and win custody of our daughter and now he has signed over all rights to my husband).

While fighting for custody, my father decided to leave his new family. He walked away from his 15-year-old son and never saw him again. He eventually moved in with my grandparents and tried to explain to me and I said I didn’t want to be in the middle. I was to the point and short about everything I said to him. But then the day came that I couldn’t take it anymore. My grandfather, my father figure, just came home from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. My grandmother asked my father to take the garbage out. Yes he had to be told to do his chores! Well he mouthed off and I went insane. I knew I couldn’t fake how I feel any longer. So I told him exactly what a low life he was and he then came after me. But fear did not consume me and cause me to run, no years of being emotionally scarred and pissed off ignited this strength that allowed me to stand in my place watching him try to get around the rocking chair to get to me. What he was going to do exactly, no one knows, but I do know I brought back my fist ready for a fight and simply said bring it. Years later he would tell me I am acting like a little bitch just like my mom and I said Thank you as long as I am not like you. That was the last time I saw him.

My mom had ways of sucking you in. For years I was terrified of her and then I became a parent and she wanted to be my best friend. It worked out for a while. We were always doing things together: shopping, taking the kids here or there. But then she remarried and the mom I knew and never loved.  And her new hubby wasn’t much better. The day before my beloved Grandpa’s funeral this last year, I text my mom a simple question. She took it the wrong way, blew it out of proportion, made it all dramatic. The next thing I know her hubby is calling me and when I answer the phone for the drunk, he goes off on me about how my Grandpa didn’t deserve respect and that I need to grow up and quitting acting like a spoiled brat. Snap #3! I can’t repeat what was said on that phone that day. But I will say the story he has told to my mom’s side of the family is an outright lie. We haven’t spoken since and even when he saw me he couldn’t look me in the eye. For months my mom went on trying to pretend it is all ok. She had to call me and I never called her. She had to text me because I wouldn’t. I was desperately holding on to that relationship string I had tried my whole life to have with my mom. She has never said she loves me. Not the day I gave birth at 17 years old and not the day I got married. And I was so depressed for months until finally my oldest daughter said “Mom we don’t like seeing you like this.” And I said “your right. It’s not worth it.”

My mom has tried to apologize in her we were all wrong explanation. But I told her through the whole conversation I was not wrong and will not say I was. That is how that ended. We still talk about once a week and she comes over about once a month. Maybe if she needs something. Far less than what it use to be. And I am ok with that. My family life has been amazing since I got rid of the toxins. I lean on my hubby more, I cherish my kids more. I want to be the parent that gives my kids amazing memories. Not the disconnected kind that treats her kids like they are a burden or ruined her life. I promised my daughters that I would never do what my mom did to me. They are old enough that they witnessed and understood what happened. And they know that is never going to be an issue.

I also write this because the brother that my father walked away from just found out they are expecting and I wonder. Will the past come back to bite him? Is he doomed to make the same mistakes? And I can honestly say not if you don’t let it. Stand up and be strong! Fight for what you love and what you have! And fight to be the best parent and person you can be! I did and I have succeeded!

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