Reader warning, this is a meaty one folks, you might want to boil the kettle, make a cuppa and grab a couple of tim tams before commencement...
I was not the easiest child to raise, I can admit that when I look back at my childhood. Yes I did set fire to the side of my grandma's house, yes I ran an illegal book on the Melbourne Cup in grade 6, yes I did set the garage on fire during my home made bomb making phase and yes there was a small bush fire behind the Trafalgar footy ground one summer that was strangely unexplained....and no I am not a pyromaniac.
From my last blog you got the picture that my life was not always beer and skittles, it was bloody hard and I hurt like hell from prepubescence through to early adulthood, is was more sheer good luck than good management that I came out the other side.
My parents divorced when I was four and I vividly remember the day we moved into my Grandma's house because my sisters dog whelped a litter of pups on the day of the move. My Grandma raised me and my sister while my Mum worked to support us. My Grandma's name was Hazel and she was one of the most independent, zany and loving women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, she is also one of the few women that I have unreservedly loved. She passed away 7 odd years ago and I still miss her everyday, she was the one who taught me how to fish, how to bet on the horses but more importantly showed me what compassion, understanding, forgiveness and belief in others meant, traits that I did not always understand as a child but are irreplaceable as a parent. As a look back I think have come to the conclusion that as the strong relationship developed with my Grandma my relationship with my mother declined in corresponding amounts. Mum searched for her inner peace via religion and new love, my sister's and my life was left in turmoil as we tried to understand why our Dad was not around, and how to accept the new man in our Mums life. Change is never an easy thing to deal with as a kid, my Grandma was my rock.
Do not get me wrong, I do not want to come across as selfish or ungrateful, I respect my Mum and I am thankful for the life she provided for us. But....and this is the big but, I do not know how to love my Mum, it is not that I do not love her, I just struggle with the concept of loving her, so to speak. I would like to say that my mum and stepdad supported the decisions or paths in my life that I wanted to take, but I cannot say that this was the case. Freedom of choice and creative licence was not something that was exercised in my home as a teenager, stern direction and predetermined choices where the order of the day. Was this reason why I rebelled and cocked up most of my early adulthood? Fair chance that it was part of the symptomology of the cancerous existence I lived during that chapter of my life . I still take overall responsibility for that period of my life but sometimes environment does have an effect on ones outcomes in life and lack of support and understanding from those that you assumed would support you can make for a long road back to recovery.
So what has bought on this latest review of my relationship of my parents? Lets just say in the past there has been some absolute doozies of arguments and disagreement between myself and my mum and stepdad, the majority of them were mainly my doing. But in saying that the majority of them were from when I was an irresponsible twit of a teenager. One argument that does stick in my mind was when I was told that a leopard never changes it spots...after rummaging through my Kipling book collection I determined that my mum and stepdad must not have had a lot of faith in me, which bloody well hurt and still does. The latest installment centred around my parents annual pilgrimage to warmer weather during the winter months and the decision of my wife and myself to have our youngest boys naming day 2 weeks after their scheduled leave date. Just a little back picture for you folks, I have three boys all born in July, the youngest on the 20th and the two eldest on the 30th, my mum and stepdad have been present for one birth and one birthday in the 6 years that the boys have been around. But back to the naming day issue, several months notice was given to my mum and stepdad of our intention to hold the naming day on the youngest's first birthday, this would have required them to put back their trip by a miserly two weeks, something which did not occur. The naming day went ahead and it was a great day, just minus the majority of my family. Upon return from their annual odyssey several months later we received a phone call and a request to have a family chat as they had some issues that they wanted to discuss. The basic upshot was that they felt upset that they were not included in the naming day and we should have changed the day so as they could have attended. Well folks at that point Mt St Allan erupted and 10 years of anger, disappointment and rage erupted. I am sorry mum that me and the missus had the audacity to have our children born in the month that you take holidays, heaven forbid that your postpone your trip by two weeks to attend a significant family milestone...but that is right why start now when it has not been a factor for the last six years. Also my sincere apologies that one of the people we choose as a godparent would not have been available after July to undertake his role. This was countered with the "we feel like we are not your priority anymore." Well sorry mum, you have slipped down the list of importance three rungs, namely Lachlan, Mason and Hunter and I am sorry if you feel that way but my main priority in life is my children, surely as a parent you would understand this. But then again, maybe you don't, because if you did we would not be having this argument. Dialogue rapidly fell to pieces and threats were made which resulted in me advising my mum and stepdad to leave as I do not take to kindly to being physically threatened in my home or having my wife's honesty questioned. Needless to say things have not improved greatly over the last month since the argument. I am being stubborn holding my ground on this issue, or am I maintaining the family structure and relationship that I wished I had as a child?
So where does this leave the relationship I have with my mum and stepdad, to be honest I do not know. One of the last comments my mum made before leaving was that her loyalty lay with my stepdad and my wife's loyalty lay with me. Well that's fine, but as my wife pointed out, yes her loyalty may be with me but she also has the perceptual awareness to point out when I have been an ass. My parting comment was that as a parent I will always have loyalty to my children, no matter what occurs I will be there to support and help them, something that I wish I had as a teenager and guess what Mum, a leopard can change its spots. I also know I am not going to apologise for my actions in asking someone to leave my house when they threaten me, nor am I going to apologise to someone who questioned my wife's honesty. I am also not going to feel guilty for putting the needs of my children first, something that every parent would do, I do not expect you to understand this-but hang on, aren't you parents also?