You know, if you had told me when I was 20 that in 7 year, your family would have systematically abandoned you, and have next to no role in my family, I probably would have laughed in your face. "Hahaha, no way. Not a chace. My family is the greatest, closest family I have ever seen." Well, you know what, when I was 20/21, that was when I was having most of my issues with my Mom back from moving out the first time, so who knows. I may have agreed with you. That was when everything started to go downhill. When everything started though? My grandmother passing away. I remember that day, and will remember that day for the rest of my life. Sitting at my Aunt's House, being watched by my Mom's friend Penney. Ironically, that was als the first time I talked to a girl I used to know named Julie. Wow, now I'm really getting into memory lane here.
I was talking to her on the computer, and I remember afterwards talking to Penney, telling her that if Grandma was meant to pass away, then that's what would happen. It happens to everyone eventually, and at least she wouldn't be in pain anymore. She told me that was a very mature way of thinking of things. I was 16. It was 2004. If I close my eyes, I go back to seeing my Mom and Aunt Janis walk in the door, sit on the couch, and say she was gone. I got up, and walked out the front door, slamming it behind me. Yeah, I did have a very mature view on it, but I still thought she was going to pull through it. This was Grandma. My absolute two prized posessions are my Harry Potter books from her. Philosopher's Stone, and Goblet of Fire. I couldn't care less about the book, it's the fact that she wrote specifically to me on the inside of the cover. If I were to lose all of my belongings tomorrow, comic books, video games, clothes, everything, the only thing I would be upset at would be those two books. I have no photos, nothing else of any significant value other than my kids and Candice. Nothing else matters.
Anyways, that was when things started to go downhill. One thing you need to understand, is that my family was close. No no no, really close. I couldn't fully explain to you how close my family was, because there isn't a way could stress that enough. From weekends at the cottage, to random BBQs at my grandparents' house, to family birthdays, to living there when we lost the house, we were close. VERY close. I wish every day that my Grandmother could see the man I've become and meet the family I've created. Wouls she be proud? Disappointed? I'd love just one time to be able to sit down with her and get some advice on what I should do.
11 years. In 11 years I have systematically seen my family implode on itself and I have been forced to sit, and watch on the side lines while they bicker and complain about things not worth breaking a family up over. The worst part, is that the only person that this really effects is my Grandfather, who is quite possibly the kindest, most gentle, loving, and strongest man I have ever met. If I can even be a quarter of the man that he is to my children, then I will have succeeded at at least something in my life. But that won't happen unless I actually take some responsibility and go to work every day, work my ass off, and give them the life they deserve. There have been times I've had to get involved to in my family's bickering. Being at the cottage with Uncle Paul, hearing him talk about things going on, how they will never understand what they're missing up here, which I completely agree.
The Cottage. My one absolute favourite place on the face of this Earth. Another thing I have seen be completely tainted by the stuff going on in my family. A once relaxing, utopia of peace, love, a beacon for the love that my family shares. I have many a great memory up there. Learning to swim, fishing with Grandpa, swimming with Grandma, playing in the tree house Uncle Paul built for us, watching Grandma garden where the picnic bench is now, sitting on the beach around a fire, with everyone talking and laughing. No drama. No hate. Just the greatest family in the world, enjoying the greatest place on the planet. Together. That place has now become the central part of what has, and I am sure will, bring this once great family crashing to the ground, in a fireball of screaming, slamming doors, and severed ties that will never be repaired.
One thing you have to understand about me, is that my parents split when I was pretty young. I was 6. My brother was less than 1. Not even old enough to walk yet. I remember that day too, like no other. My Dad walked in the door, telling Penney not to screech out of the driveway with her car because he had just redone it. She laughed it off. he took offense to it. He went to go outside, she threw a cooking at him. They began arguing, and when he turned around she jumped on his back and started punching him in the head. Yeah. I was 6. Sitting on the ground with my brother. I don't care who you are, if that EVER happened with my kids around, I don't care if it is one of my best friends, they would be out of my life faster than you can say a slew of profanities. But that wasn't the case here. In fact, that was when my Dad left, or was kicked out. I don't know, and to be honest, I really don't care. I have my own family, I stopped caring long ago what happened between my Mom and Dad and taking a side to it. Actually, I stopped caring when I took up my Mom's side against my Dad and found out that no one ever gave me all the details. Even my Mom, who I have trusted more than anyone, didn't give me all the details, even when I asked for them. But that's besides the point. The fact is that I just don't care anymore.
What followed that day was years of going to bed, or sitting in my room, while Penney was one of the rudest, most uncaring, inconsiderate, people I will ever have met. her and my Mom screaming at each other in the basement because of some comment she made, slamming doors, banging as if they were getting in a fist fight, while I sat in my room, my heart racing, while usually my brother wanted some consoling because he felt the same way.
Anyways, what I'm getting at here, my God I feel like I'm telling a How I Met Your Mother type story. Derailing all over the place here. What I'm trying to get at, is that my Mom's side of the family is extremely close. I mean, Rick, a cousin of mine, used to hold two parties a year. One in the Summer, the other in the Winter. Our entire family would get together. Every year. My Dad's side on the other hand, filled with drama. This person mad at that person, now they're fine with them, but mad at THIS person now. These two aren't talking. I mean, here's a summary of my Father's side of the family: two separate deaths were overshadowed by the fact that every member of the family got involved in arguing over money. MONEY. Yeah. Twice. Special people, huh? Well, now with me having kids, what do you think I would rather they grown up with, that? Or the family that raised me, that I grew to love. If you said my Father's family, then whoever's reading this, just go outside and bite the curb, I'll be out there shortly. Sorry, a joke from a TV show I watch. Betwen me, and I guess myself. Because I giggled at bit at it. Yeah, that's the point I'm at right now. Giggling at my own jokes.
The point I'm trying to make, is that my Mom's family has always been close, and my Dad's family has never gotten along. My Mom's family, is actually at the point, where they are now almost identical to my Dad's family. Now, with everything I've told you, how do you think that makes me feel? We have arguments about money CONSTANTLY, with no one wanting to have everybody (and I mean my Mom, Uncle Paul, and Aunt Janis), sit down, and talk. Actually talk about things. No. The response I get to that is "well, you can't talk to Paul, he just gets mad and leaves". Funny, because not only have I had proper conversations with him, but I've actually talked to him and had him turn around and say "you're right, I'm wrong". So clearly it's not impossible to talk to him. You just have to know HOW. The problem is, everyone in my family is so angry at each other (basically on one side is My Mom and Aunt Janis, the other is my Uncle Paul, and right smack dab in the middle, is my Granfather. Remember that loving, caring, strong man I told you about? The one who is my biggest father figure. He too, has watched his family slowly implode on itself. So with me feeling this way, how do you think that makes him feel? The problem is, he won't tell anyone how it makes him feel. He's not up for the argument. So Uncle Paul gets one side of him, and my Mom and Aunt Janis get another. He tells people what they want to hear. But ask yourself something; If you had gone through creating a family, watching them grow, have kids of their own, lose your one true love, and best friend in this entire world, and then see them all drift apart out of anger and greed, would you really want to have the potential of one of them not talking to you from disagreeing with them? Probably not.
This has all climbed to an apex in my situation, where I have two kids, Kahleigh, who I've known since she was 4 years old, and I earned the right to be her daddy, and Lily, named after my Grandmother. Both of them I love unconditionally. No you don't understand, when I say unconditionally, I mean it. Them and Candice, make up the entire reason I even get up in the morning. I've made some stupid decisions over the years. VERY stupid decisions, but we are at this place, at this time, right now, so that I can change things. But that's a diffeent story. I now have another child on the way. Things will be different. I don't just mean that I'll get us single-handedly out of this financial hole we've been in for the last 8 years, I mean with EVERYTHING. I will be different, there for my kids, for everything, for my wife (If you're reading this, Candice, I love you with all my heart, and as much as you may not like it, even though there is no ring, you are still my Wife, so HA. Commonlaw'd) I mean even distancing myself from those I previously thought were good for my family. Yes, I mean distancing myself from my Mom, Uncle Paul, Aunt Janis, pretty much everyone who is absolutely poisoning this family. Now, that's not to say I won't be arouns at all, but I'm going to be doing more things as my own family, by ourselves, or having people over at OUR place for a change. The difference is that we will be somewhere where my Grandfather doesn't have to feel uncomfortable, because of the bickering. Because to be quite honest, I'd just tell them to leave if it started.
The jouney to this point, and final decision, hasn't been an easy one, I've constantly gone back and forth with making the decision, never wanting to completely cut out my family, or deprive my kids of that family, but it's at the point where they will just grown up thinking that that's how you treat your siblings. I mean, we have arguments about the cottage. As I said, once a great, amazing, place, now completely kiled by arguments. Apparently it will be sold. No it won't. What will happen is that when my Grandpa passes away (which is inevitable for anyone eventually), the vultures will move in, to pick the bones, and will literally have a tug-war with each other, over one thing. The Cottage. Why? Money. It will have to be sold, and split between the three of them. It's sad, that that's what this entire thing comes down to, isn't it? Money.
Well, I refuse to be a part of it anymore, but its more than that. I refuse to watch it anymore, also. No one says I have to sit there and watch my family pull themselves apart in the name of things that could be settled peacefully, so I'm done. I will watch no longer. I will not have my once incredible cottage memories of family togetherness, ruined by memories of my Mother and Uncle screaming at each other, to which she then brags about later. As if the arguing is some great victory. My Aunt does nothing with this family, other than have us over for special occasions because there's enough room for everyone. Well, there's going to be even more room now, because I'm done. I've seen enough. I have no intention to have my great memories spoiled by this vicious arguing. It's like listening to grade school children argue. It's ridiculous, and it all comes down to money. I seriously can't say that enough to myself. It seems way to surreal. Money is what brought down this family. This family that I once thought was strong as bedrock, turns out it was just a piñata that the kids can beat on until they get the candy inside. That is both metaphorical and literal, because the kids of this family (namely my Mother, Uncle, and Aunt, are literally beating on this family with their arguing, with no regard to what is going on with ANYONE else, no regard for hw it makes my Grandpa feel, until they get the money that they want). It's disgusting. I have next to no respect for anyone in this family, and that's not how I want to remember it. That can't be the legacy that my Grandmother left in her wake. The reason for her passing. There has to be more to it than that. Maybe this family finally pulls up its bootstraps and comes together? I wish. Unfortunately, it seems like the inevitable thing will be for everyone to stop talking to each other. Well, It's time to cut the losses on this one. I fold. You guys figure your shit out, because I'm out.