My parents were high school sweethearts, and after my dad did a tour in Germany during the Korean War and returned to his hometown, he and my mother married. They eloped, as his parents had eloped, in Elkton, MD, on New Year’s Eve 1953.
I applaud them that — if I’d married my HSS I’d’ve been divorced shortly after. There is so much mental, social and emotional growth during the “college years” that there was no way I could’ve maintained a relationship.
The one I established in my senior year was a way to separate from my emotionally abusive, alcoholic family, and although it didn’t work out (duh) I learned more about myself and my willingness to tolerate behavior that didn’t serve me or help me further myself in the world that I wouldn’t change it. I often thought, in my early exploratory twenties, that I wish my upbringing was different, I realized that my past was my past, and I could either reject it, or accept it and process what it was.
If my parents were alive today we (husband, two children) would have minimal contact due to the manipulative nature of both my parents. When my dad found out he had cancer he cleaned up — he quit drinking and smoking and adopted a locavore lifestyle when it wasn’t a thing. He got 5 yrs. before cancer kicked his ass, dammit.
He quit drinking but his manipulative behavior did not. I remember that he was driving me to the Philadelphia airport and I called him on his crap. We’d just buried my maternal grandmother, with whom I was closer than I was with my own mother. I missed our daughter’s 2nd birthday and was especially resentful and raw. I called my dad out…he was driving and owned his B.S. I may have never have loved him so much as I did then. And I felt as though we’d finally worked through stuff my mother and I did not. She died before we could come to terms. I feel bad about that, but it doesn’t affect my daily life.
Our daughter moved back in with us after her then BF refused to help her when she lost her job in San Francisco. We dealt with a lot of stuff we hadn’t planned, as well as really great relational moments with her, for 4 years. Because we got to work through our issues we’re as close as storm windows. I’m so grateful for those years, and what they wrought, and how we’ve ev0lvled. I have the relationship I wanted with my mother, and I have with my daughter. If I died tonight I’d be very happy.
If I didn’t die and show up for Sunday’s time trial I’d be even happier.