Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Happy Anniversary?... Erm... No.

Ok. Here's what's up. My parents are still married. But for how long, I am not sure. They've had a rocky life, that's an understatement, and ever since I can remember my mother has suffered from clinical depression. My father was pretty much absent from our childhood as he works in oil & gas and has worked very odd hours or just actually out @ camp for 75% of the year. My mum, from what I have seen, has never truly been happy. She was married @ 16 with a baby and I guess has never really done anything for herself. Not even since I left home 14 years ago, the last of the two kids to "escape", has she really manage to find something for herself. My father, although still working lot of hours, is home every night now but is still "absent" in a sense. I have seen their interaction, which is to say, I have seen their non-interaction. Both have revealed to me in recent conversations that they have nothing in common and probably never had. Through the years my mother has grown so unhappy there are points when she just decides to take off and leave. My earliest recollection of her leaving was when I was 7 years old. I was half way through the 1st grade and my mum gave my sister and I some money to go to the Saturday matinee at the local theatre. Now, we grew up in a town of 3,000 people @ the time and going to the theatre a block and a half away wasn't too scary. My sister was 9 and it was something my mum would let us do once in a while. This was the first time she allowed us to walk home alone, though. I wasn't scared, I was too excited! We were told to go to grandma's house (which was right next door to ours) after the movie and she would come get us for dinner. She didn't show up. Instead, my dad got home from work and we spent a week living @ grandma's. I guess I wondered where my mum was the following weekend when we went back home and my dad tried to make us kids breakfast on Saturday morning. Kid's weekend breakfast was usually sweet-cereal and a piece of toast. Dad, being as much absent then as he was later on, proceeded to cook us each one egg, sunnyside up. It kind of dawned on me that mum wasn't there to make sure things were done "right". Dad finally found where my mum had disappeared to and when he did (which was, from what I was told, about a month later) he gathered us up in the car and drove 400km to where she was staying with her brother. We slept all the way there in the back seat of the car, got carried inside to my uncle's and tossed into the same beds with cousins that I barely knew. I remember being scared and wondering where I was. I could hear the muffled voices of my mum and dad talking through the night as I stared at the strange wooden paneled walls and dozed in and out of sleep. The next day the entire family got into the car and went home. We stopped @ A&W (a burger place) on the way back, I had my first "whistle dog" (completely loaded hot dog) and I got to keep the glass mug that my rootbeer had come in. Pretty vivid for a 7 year old's memory. Over the years my mum has come and gone. Gotten upset and left. Sometimes we've gone with her… sometimes not. Trust me on this, I'm not taking sides. I think whatever happens in a marriage, it certainly takes two to allow it to happen -at least in most cases- and so I hold no one person in this situation more accountable than the other. But this time. I am not certain as it has happened so many times in my life, I think that it has the potential to be quite final. I try to be there for both of my parents. I have, over the years discovered that I am the person that both of them come to when they need to talk about anything. I have realized that sometimes neither of them likes what I have to say but I have also realized they appreciate my candidness. I have realized at a very young age that my parents are all too human; that both of them make terrible mistakes, just like everyone else. They're not perfect. I have realized that I am my father's best friend and my mother's as well. I realize I cannot fix their problems. I realize that no matter what it is that I say to them, they are going to have to decide to make their own choices. I have realized in some ways, in a lot of ways, our roles have reversed. There's just so many thing wrong with their situation that I also realize that maybe, just maybe, it isn't ever going to be "right". I admire my parents' tenacity although I don’t understand it. My pops said to me last night, "Maybe this should have happened sooner, but for whatever reason, whether it be you kids, or for financial reasons or whatever… there was always a reason to stay together". I said "No pops, there was always an excuse." "Yah kid, you're right." I have never claimed my parents had a perfect marriage, but maybe I held on to the fact that they at least had a marriage, which is something to admire in this day and age; but the kind of marriage they had, at least at this point, wasn't. February 13th was their 35th wedding anniversary.