|Saturday, Feb. 15, 2003 || The view was different from here|
Unless one buys a funny card about sex, it can be very difficult to find a good Valentine card after 14-plus years of marriage, let alone the “perfect” card.
This year I found one:
I love it that you married me,
I just can’t buy those sugary, sappy, I-have-always-loved-you-isn’t-our-life-perfect cards anymore. Call me a cynic if you like. I prefer to think of myself as a realist.
My marriage is not perfect. I am not perfect. Rob is not perfect.
And love and marriage is a lot of work.
So, I choose to skip the candy coating and see things for how they really are. Or were. Celebrate the good times, yes. But I am determined to stop pretending that things were, or are, anything more than reality.
My sister’s entry disturbed me today. I do not like the feelings that flooded through me. At first reading, I wanted to say, “Did you grow up in the same house that I did?” Then I felt ashamed for feeling that way. I read her guestbook entries and felt like a heel. You know, there seems to be some unwritten code that says you just don’t criticize your parents. You just don’t call it like it was.
And I can also admit that some of what she said is true. They are better than they were. But there are some things that I refuse to accept, refuse to sweep under the rug. There are some things that two greeting cards just don’t erase.
My view of my folks is different than my sisters. When I think of my dad, I do agree with her that “He struggled with being a father, because of his role model. He didn’t know what he meant to his father so he wasn’t sure how to let us know. He wanted all girls, so they would love him and respect him, but he wasn’t sure how to achieve that kind of relationship.” And I can see how one might say, “He did the best he knew how.”
But you see, I live with a man who has done more than “the best he knew how”. Because if he had chosen to simply do the best he knew how, he would be a drug-abusing, wife-beater. And he is not. He would not be a loving father and committed provider. He would be a dead-beat, absentee dad.
He chose to do better than he knew how.
Please don’t misunderstand; I know that our upbringing greatly affects how we relate to our spouse, children, and others. But there is a point where one must make a decision to do things different. To break the curse, so to speak, rather than use it as a crutch.
I moved out of my parents’ home at 18 years of age. My parents had just then begun making changes that I can say have made them better, today. And perhaps that is why I don’t see things quite the way my sisters do. I have been absent for this growth in their relationship, living in various and sundry cities and states for the past 14 years.
And I rejoice at the changes, I truly do. I am glad that they are in a better place than they were the years I remember the end table flying, being kicked out the front door (literally), getting dragged off the top bunk, backhanded in the car – “we wouldn’t have to do that if you just didn’t run your mouth, Nicole” – and being told over and over again that I was selfish or I should know better because I was the oldest.
And it is hard for me to excuse what my sister said, that “in his frustration of lost dreams and expectations he often criticized and ridiculed my Mom. I don’t think he meant to blame her, but I could see it in her eyes at times – she thought she was the reason for his frustration and he didn’t know how to tell her she wasn’t. Their love is different now, but my Dad is not good at going back and righting wrongs. And my Mom accepts that, even if I do not understand.”
I am sorry, but I do not understand and I can not accept that. Because that is not what good husbands do. When they have done wrong, they have the courage to make it right, no matter what the cost to their pride. I know this because I live with the most courageous man I have ever met. One who looks me in the eyes and says, “I was wrong” when he was. Who says, “I wish you didn’t hurt so much,” and holds me as I battle my ghosts. One who is committed to seeing my wounds healed. One who knew it would not be simple to be married to me.
And chose me anyway.
I know I must forgive my parents. I am working on it. And perhaps what I view as a delusional entry by my younger sister is just the kick in the pants I need to move forward, separate their behavior from the fact that, yes, good, bad, and ugly, they are still my parents. Release it to God, and forgive them.
Once and for all.
Just a reminder - Friday, Aug. 10, 2007
Rockin' Girl Blogger - Wednesday, Jul. 18, 2007
A good end - Friday, Jun. 01, 2007
Moving on? Yes and no. - Monday, May. 07, 2007