I am an adult child of divorce. I was about sixteen when my parents decided to end things. To make a long story short, my father wanted to do what he wanted and my mother wasn't having it.
I watched as my
mother, a housewife for eighteen years, pulled out the newspaper the day
after he left and went to work the next day. She worked jobs she
shouldn't trying to put food on the table. Recycling plant, cleaning
toilets, construction; it didn't matter, if the money was green she took
the job. We may have had utilities off from time to time, but there was
always food on the table, even though it may not be the gourmet cuisine
you wanted. We learned how to make food last on a limited budget and we
were never on any public assistance. The struggle bonded us deeply.
my father on the other hand was living the life he wanted with no
responsibilities to tie him down. He went and married the woman he was
seeing while he was married to my mother, about two months after the
divorce was final. He went and bought that brand new red Mustang, not
the type of car you would expect from someone with three kids. He
wouldn't call to check on us, but to brag about where he'd been on his
vacation. He couldn't come for his scheduled visits but he made sure we
saw his shiny new sports car. He could care less that his kids were
hurt, scarred and traumatized, it was all about him.
same could be said for his parents. We were their only grand children,
so on Christmas they doted on us with the huge gift boxes from Hudson's.
My grandmother would go all out with the beautiful hand knit sweaters
and name brand items for kids. After my parents split, that was it. No
Christmas gifts, no birthday wishes, nothing. As we struggled, no one
called to see if the kids had shoes, coats, or even food. We were cut
off completely, even though they only lived eight minutes away from us.
the time in the hour glass is in our favor. We're stable adults now, no
drug use, no illegitimate children, my brother had his growing pains as
a young black male growing up in Detroit, but these days he's a
workaholic and he's fine. We're as close to Mom as we've ever been.
Sherman on the other hand is another story. Having worked for Ford
since he was eighteen, he makes a nice salary, but you can never tell.
His life is a never ending spiral of dysfunction. The divorce from wife
number three was final a couple months ago, so I know he's looking for
his next flavor of the month. He has no choice but to flit from woman to
woman because he has no bond with his children and has to assimilate
himself into their family. He's the type who likes to rewrite history,
like he was Cliff Huxtable; I have no problem reminding him what a
terrible father he was.
with him is awkward, like we're operating at two different frequencies.
When we talk he makes juvenile jokes, like he doesn't realize we're
grown adults now. He doesn't know me. He can't tell you my favorite food
or color. He's even clueless about me being a writer, which I plan on
keeping that way. Whatever he is, I'm stuck with him.
'accessories' are optional. We eventually reconnected
with my grandparents a when we learned after about fifteen years when
we learned my grandmother was dying of cancer. We visited the hospital a
couple times, but I felt the coldness, like I'd wandered into some
random stranger's hospital room. How pathetic is it when your own
grandparents have to ask if you have any children? After a knockdown
drag out debate with my brother and sister, we attended the funeral and
started visiting with my widowed grandfather again.
week or every other week, we'd visit, go out to dinner or a movie. We
even invited him over to dinner a couple times and my sister called him
every day. A couple years later, a few of her daily calls went
unanswered and he called back when he felt like it. He had a new woman
in his life and little by little we could feel that chasm opening up
again. My sister trying to be nice tried to give him another shot, but
the writing was on the wall for me. Dear old sweet granddad used us as
placeholders to keep from being lonely until he found another wife.
After that I was done with the Sherman family completely. It's been
about two and a half years and I haven't looked back.
brings us to the very reason I'm so pissed today. Sunday my father
calls with his normal chit chat which results in him holding the phone
in silence and me trying to come up with conversation because he doesn't
know what to say. Before he ends the call, he tells me to call my
grandfather on Tuesday, cause it's his birthday. Huh?
I had a missed call from my father and I know what he wants. If I
didn't know what he wanted, the text with my grandfather's phone number
is a clue.
I'm not calling him. Call me
cold, callous, heartless, whatever, I'm done with these people. I'm not a
toy you can take out of the box and play with whenever some one feels
the need. My grandfather has kicked us to the curb twice; once as
children and once again as adults, after we gave him a second chance.
This isn't the Oprah show where the long lost relative is hiding behind
the curtain. Fake isn't in me, so I'm not doing the loving granddaughter
routine, pretending every thing is fine and make him feel better. I
don't think so.
People need to know that
kids aren't stupid. They may be little and defenseless and can't do
anything when you break promises or break their hearts. But they grow
up. Be careful what you throw away.