I have a family. Shocking, yes? 2/3 of them I’m hesitant to claim because they’re just so…weird. I’m sure that same 2/3 are hesitant to claim me for the exact same reason.
My relationship with my parents, specifically my Dad, hasn’t always been tolerable. My Mom is the most caring, patient, amazing, and neurotic person I know. How she ended up with (and is still married to) the most narcissistic, impatient, abusive, and fucked up person I know remains a mystery. I love him, and I have a better understanding of his behavior now than I did. I forgive him for what he did, and commend him for making an effort to not be an insufferable asshole. I’m just glad I don’t have to live around that anymore.
That being said, I am close to my parents. My definition of close is probably different than my husband’s. His Mom calls multiple times a week, guilt-trips him until his ears bleed, and sticks her nose into all of his business, all while simultaneously putting him on a pedestal and fanning his fire of self-importance. If she senses something is off, she’ll hop in the car (or on a plane) and invite herself in to poo-poo all over my crappy housewifery. Then she likes to pick fights. She told me she was so angry at my parents for leaving me alone last March while I house-sat for them so they could go to Florida when it was clear I was unwell, and angry that they didn’t show up every time I was hospitalized. “Don’t they care about you?” so I had to explain that not all families are the same, and when I look at how their family deals with shit, it annoys me. But you know, in a nicer way.
I have an adult relationship with my parents, although the older I get, I wonder if any of us are truly adults – I often times think I’m more mature than they are, which is terrifying if you think about it ;). They offered to help me out, but I declined. They respected my wishes and only asked that I keep them updated. The offer stood – if I needed them, they’d be there for me. I think that’s healthy. We may only talk once a month, but it doesn’t mean we forget about each other. It makes it easier to stay SANE, plus it gives us more to talk about. I think what it ultimately comes down to is trust. They trust me, and my ability to be rational and make mostly good decisions. Or they realize I’m 33 fucking years old and they can’t do anything about it, but I’d like to think there’s a sense mutual trust and respect between us. Boundaries are an important part of any relationship.
My husband’s parents are the complete opposite of mine, and I’m sure that is part of the reason they think I’m demon spawn. The relationship he has with his parents is a big reason I refer to him as manchild. Not to his face, most of the time. Whether he likes it or not, that’s the position he’s in. It is a two way street, though. He may complain about how obnoxious his Mother is, but she’s always there to fish him out of the shit he gets himself into. He was raised to have a woman look after him, and I’m failing miserably. Although, after 10 years and multiple attempts, I still can’t get him to do his own laundry. I shouldn’t have to take care of him, or feel guilty about asking him to do things I can’t. I would love (maybe not love – I fucking hate housework, but it was my ‘job’) to take care of the thankless crap like I did in the past, but you can’t force a 3-legged horse to run and win a race. If his life has truly been ruined by me, whose fault is that? He asked me to marry him. He knew what he was getting himself into from the beginning, except for the whole sick thing. This doesn’t absolve me from the responsibility of being a kind, decent human being. I think I do just fine on that front, and hopefully it makes some of my quirks less detrimental. I can tell he’s conflicted. He loves me so so much, but he doesn’t know how to be a whole person when he’s only got half of the life he wants. Love stinks, yeeah yeah.
As spring approaches, so to will the frequency of visitation requests. My sister has plane tickets purchased and plans to visit the second week of April. She has offered to rent a car, and if I weren’t an asshole, I’d let her borrow mine. In my defense, she is an AWFUL driver. Add DC traffic to that, and I’ll never see my ugly little car in one piece again. I can’t even drive the damn thing. Yet.
Family is a good thing to have.
When they’re 500 miles away.