Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Old Pain and New Beginnings

Big plans this weekend. Mom, Ella and I are headed back to Bowmanville for a visit. It's my sister's birthday on Friday. Mom's family have 7 birthday's in February/March so they have always had one big party. It'll be great to see the family again. I miss the family b-day parties, with 5 kids and 10 grandkids and 3 great-grands, we had a party nearly every month. I try to get Colin's family together, but it's only his immediate family that get together and there's not that many of them :)

I'm treating myself (it will please Colin too). I'm getting my hair permed. I love my hair when I have a spiral perm, it makes it look so much thicker and healthier -right now it's so straight and fine (luckily I have lots so it's not thin too). But I only trust my hairdresser at home to touch my hair with chemicals. She's very reasonable, especially with the amount she has to use for my length of hair. Mom's paying half as an early b-day present and my GST cheque is covering the rest. Ella wants a "hair cut" too, so I'll get Jane just to give the ends a little trim so Ella doesn't feel left out.

It will be great to see my sister and other family, we're even going to get to go to my church in Toronto. That will be wonderful! It's the stop we are going to make on the way home that I'm aprehensive about. We're stopping in to visit with my dad and step-mother. I won't go into too many details, let's just say I didn't have the happiest of childhoods. Dad was a closet alcoholic and verbally/emotionally abusive. We were lucky with the drinking though. Mom nearly left him when I was 5 (oh, if only she had-but nice families didn't get divorced in the 70's) and told him after that, that she wouldn't tolerate drinking at home. So all of his drinking happened at friends/families/parties. A great embarrassment, but at least we didn't have to deal with drunken rages and such as you see on tv. Though how he never killed us driving home I'll never know. But on the other hand, his not drinking at home certainly made his emotional abuse harder to "explain or excuse". No one knew what was going on, not even the family. There were times I used to wish I could make him mad enough to hit me. Since I bruise really easy, it would make a good mark and then I would have proof of what was happening and could get us some help. The really bad times would make me wish he would plow the car into one of the cement bridges on the way home. It's a good thing I have been a Christian for all my life and that I have such a wonderful family because there were also times that only the fear of never seeing them again was all that kept me here. Mom finally had enough back in 90 (their 20th wedding anniversary). I've tried over the years to give him a "second chance" only to end up in tears. I really get tired of hearing how it's because of the way "I treated him" that he treated me the way he did. I mean, what terrible thing did I do when I was 3,4,5 to be treated that way??? It was so bad that my sister really has no memories of growing up (pre-16). That was how she handled it, she blocked everything out -that and I sheilded her from all I could, like a good big sister should. That makes me so sad, because we lost so many relatives in those years who loved her so much and she doesn't remember them.

I haven't seen/talked with dad for nearly 6 years. The last time we saw him was the day after we got engaged. It was one of the brief good periods we were having so I took Colin up to Peterborough to meet him and my step-mother (who I like a lot) and to tell him our good news. Well, you should have seen his face when we told him (I wasn't looking). Colin said he's never seen anyone lose all emotion and feeling from a face. He barely said two words for the rest of the visit, if not for my step-mother's interest, it would have been horrible. It was as if he couldn't believe anyone would want to bother with the likes of me! Even after all that I was going to offer the olive branch and invite them to the wedding (my godfather was already giving me away). But then he starts shouting off his mouth and saying things he shouldn't, like always, so we ended up scratching him off the list. Well when he heard that, he said that since "the church was a public building he could come and there was nothing we could do about it." He seemed to forget he wasn't just dealing with me anymore, Colin was furious. Mom and I were so afraid he would show up drunk and ruin everything, Colin was afraid he would slug him (even though he's not a violent person) His mom and mine went to the ministers involved (wedding and reception at two churches) and they wrote letters saying it was a private event and he wasn't welcome and would be arrested. The mothers went further and talked to the OPP of the various locations and they offered to send an officer by the wedding and reception if it were a quiet Saturday. I ended up getting dressed at the MIL's just so dad couldn't find us. It was kind of funny at the reception to hear family talking about the police cruiser going by "looking for speeders" :)

We haven't heard directly from dad since. I've heard things from this person and that. Mostly comments that show he's his same old self. Just recently he phoned my sister to say he had some stuff that belong to my great Aunt Ella, for whom Ella is named. And he wondered if I would want it or would "throw it out" -which proves how little he knows me. He also wondered if I would give him another chance. I think he's finally come to the conclusion that my sister and her husband aren't having any children and Ella is going to be the only one. He sent a nice letter a while ago, saying he realized the mess he made out of everything and would like to see us. Since we were going to Bowmanville anyway, I decided we might as well stop by. It's on the way home and if he get's stupid, we can just leave. So it will prove for an interesting Monday. This is his last "last chance". If he hasn't changed then I'm not exposing Ella to his poison. I just wish Colin was coming with us. But at least Mom will be there as a buffer/witness. Though he will likely have his good father/grandfather act going, that's how he usually works -until you get to know him.

So please keep us in your prayers for Monday, we'll need them :) I'm keeping an open mind and hoping for the best. After all, a child can't have too many grandparents. But to be honest, I'm not holding my breath.


Anonymous said...

I have a friend with a similar painful upbringing. In the end she & her husband decided to move their family of two children, from here back to her home town in the midwest to care for her aging father. It was super tough at first, then Jesus' love just took over and she has happy memories of him before he passed away. Age sometimes has a way of softening harden hearts.

I will be praying for you.

Paula said...

I don't talk about dad much. I guess that's my version of "honouring thy father". I don't tell everyone how bad things were. Not that most people understand. Take my in-laws, they helped get the OPP to watch for him at the wedding, but since Ella they have been hinting at Colin that she's "his only granddaughter and he should see her". Like I asked Colin, would they be so eager for them to meet if he had physically hit us? Not likely, just shows how people don't get it.

I hope for Ella's sake that he has changed. It's just hard to get too excited, I've been down this road so many times before.

Thanks for the prayers