It never ceases to amaze me: No matter how much I experience, how much I change, how much I feel altogether different and too altered to feel emotion, the same things bring me back to ground zero. Square one. The beginning of me and all the peculiar oddities that have shaped my unique journey.
Always, at the core of the matter and the crux of my personality – no matter how much I deny it and hide it and hope that it goes away and feel like I’ve gotten over it – there are my parents and their dysfunctional union.
This morning, I had a post to share. Several, actually. Even though I had my nursing theory midterm at 8 a.m., at 7 a.m., my mind was abuzz with ideas for posts. Pictures from the new camera with witty captions. An exploration of my ideas about cancer. My many friendships with nuns. The decision to stop putting so much effort into schoolwork. All of this was swirling in my brain.
Moments ago, I got into a fight with my mom. No, not a fight. Not really. There was shouting (on my part) and tears (on both our parts), but there was no real conflict between us. The problem? My dad is keeping another woman on the side, and she lives here in the Philippines.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I’ve been dealing with this stuff all my life. My dad has two sons from an affair, and they live in Puerto Rico. A bunch of his paycheck goes to the trifling ass ho who’s their mom. And before you get into a schpiel about how the money is for the kids, and blah blah blah, save it. For real. I don’t have sympathy for women who decide to have kids then hound the dude for cash. There’s welfare. Food stamps. WIC. Plus, in the States, there’s abortion. No one says you have to have this baby. It’s all on you. You decided to become a mom. So if you get pregnant and decide to have the kid? Have a plan, and make sure it doesn’t include the baby daddy (just in case). The end.
So my dad’s working 60+ hours a week to pay for shit, and he’s paying for the small things at my folks’ place, like utilities. He’s constantly badgering my mom for money, and she gives it to him. She pays for his gas. And gives him money for cigarettes. And lunch. And she’s paying two mortgages, 2 SUVs, and all the other hefty bills. She logs in just as many work hours – if not more – as my dad, and she’s killing herself to pay for shit. And my dad? He claims all of his money goes to child support, utilities, and his own debts.
I feel for my mom. I really do. But do I pity her? No, not in the slightest. She’s a grown-ass woman and she has options. Her choice? Stay with this asshole my dad.
Back in November, my dad was here and there was a lot of drama about his infidelity. It shook me up really badly, to the point where I was thinking about this.
That same aunt who accidentally told me I might have another half-sibling? She just told my mom about my dad’s other woman, and my head is all aflutter because I’m thinking, Wait. This is news? Hasn’t this already been learned and dealt with?
Now my mom swears she’s going to file for a divorce. And as much as I’d love to believe that my mom is going to turn into some Asian version of a strong, independent single woman that Julia Roberts would play, I know it just ain’t so. It’s been many years, many fights, many affairs, and many times over that I have told her to kick my dad’s sorry ass to the wayside. Almost 30 years later, she’s still hanging on. And I don’t expect that to change.
So she talks about divorce, and I try with all my might to be as attentive and supportive as possible. I hope for the worst while expecting the best, and the whole time, I think about the time a couple months back when she got into a horrible car accident – the car flipped over TWICE and landed on its hood – and she went to work that night because she has “bills to pay and no one will pay them if [she doesn’t].”
That’s a direct quote, and something that I’ve been hearing for years, and I hope for my mom’s sake that she she never has to repeat it again. Because when she says it, I don’t just hear financial problems. I hear emotional ones. Personal ones. Deep-seated ones. The ones that take years of therapy to overcome. Trust issues. Issues about men. Family.
Probably, I only hear them because I know her and her story.
Probably I’m extrapolating more than I should.
But there, in front of me, dabbing at her eyes as she apologized for all the crap that she and my dad have put me through, was my mom. My beautiful, sensitive, frail, amazing, wonderful mom. Who deserves the world. Who deserves happiness. Who deserves to not have to deal with my dad – if that’s what she chooses.
I’ve decided for now to nudge her in the direction of divorce while not investing too much time or energy into it. I’m so far away from them – physically, emotionally, financially – that this should be easy.
This is the closest I’ve ever come to really walking away.