I previously stated that I am the product of a failed relationship, but not just any relationship. The relationship of two now retired military parents. This post isn’t to talk about the life as a military brat, that one will come later. This post is to discuss the life as the child of divorced parents.
Growing up, I spent a good majority of my childhood living with my mother, but that’s the case with many split-parent children. Court systems find it better for children to live with their mothers, because historically speaking mothers are more nurturing, caring, and blah blah blah. This has always left me wondering, would my life have turned out the way it did if the situation was flipped?
My parents are two totally different individuals. By different, I mean complete opposite ends of the spectrum. For one, my mother is white, and my father is black. They grew up completely different, and their way of expression has proven itself different as well. While one spent my childhood bad mouthing the other, the other waited until I was old enough to understand what was going on to speak their mind. I was left with a negative impression of one of my parents for a good majority of my life because of this, and I believe that may be a reason our relationship is so distant now.
I remember growing up and my mother constantly being out late or not home at all. It wasn’t that she was out partying, though she did have a period of that, she was working other jobs. She tells me that money was tight, and she had to find ways to keep food on the table and give me what I wanted and needed. That I can understand. That being said, there was a lot of independence on my part. I grew up faster than most, not experiencing all those kid things that most get to do. For instance, I can count on one hand how many friend sleep overs I had or attended, and on two hands how many birthday parties I was allowed to go to. This was because my mother was too busy working or doing whatever it was she was doing for me to ask permission.
She was also extremely protective and hovered over everything. I would talk to kids at school, and they would tell me how they went to the movies and did this and that. The reason I didn’t go… my mother had to know every detail about it, and if she didn’t, I wasn’t allowed to go. She would much rather have me at home on the couch than enjoying a day with friends. It wasn’t until my high school years that she began to let up, but that was probably because I stopped asking her for money, and a ride. I worked and paid my own way from then on.
My sister came into the picture when I was six, and everything changed. I was no longer the center of attention, and that was because she was premature. She became the ultimate baby of our little family. Not to mention I was outnumbered two to one, but there will be a post all about her in the near future.
There was a time when I decided I was going to spend a whole year with my father, you know, just to test the waters. It was my eighth-grade year. Mind you, that we had only spent summers and or vacation times together. I hardly knew this man. I moved in to a new home, after spending two year abroad, with a step mom and two step sisters. In that mix was also a little brother. Things were tough, and that was probably because I took everything my mother ever said and held onto it. Needless to say, it didn’t last more than a couple months before I ran back to my mother, and she accepted me with open arms.
Now, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in my life, but I feel like if I would have stuck that one out and stayed with my father, I would have benefitted from it, because now everything wasn’t just my father’s fault. Everything was also my step-mother’s fault too. Looking back at it, they were simply trying to help me.
Things changed shortly after moving back in with my mother. She decided that since she didn’t get the chance to party as a young adult or teenager, that she would do it in my high school years. She joined car and motorcycle clubs, and spent mortgage and utility money from time to time. We even had a roommate once, and let’s just say that ended terribly. There was a lot building up to the roommate leaving, but the lack of electricity was the last straw. The car and motorcycle clubs were cool for a while, until once again I realized my mother was never home. That, and when I got my first job, my account became her account too.
I remember begging and pleading with a bank district manager to let me open account on my own without a parent or guardian. I wanted the ability to be able to save and prepare for my future, but with my mother linked to my account, it wouldn’t happen. It did though, and then my father started sending his child support checks to me. My mother flipped and once again he was the bad guy and I believed her, but he saw that the money he was sending was not being used for me it was being used elsewhere. There were more fights and arguments, too many to recount.
Not every memory I have is a bad one, but it seems as though I have more of those than I have good. Those events that are now memories have shaped me. They have shown me who I don’t want to be, and what routes to take to avoid the negative. If I could go back, I don’t know if I would change anything, just because I don’t know who I would be today. Maybe I would be a better person, but who knows, I could be the worst.
Have a good one!