Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
The Early Days
Growing up I feel like my family barely tolerated one another. We all kinda lived in our own little worlds….and on occasions when our worlds collided, all hell broke loose. My parents kinda set the mood for this shit, though… so I blame them for the years of therapy SOME of us have had to endure. (Just kidding, Momma! Not.)
My Dad was not a loveable guy growing up. To be brutally honest, he was FEARED. All he had to do was look at us crooked and we peed our pants. He was “in charge of the boys”, though, which was FINE by me! But, it made my brothers pretty assholey to us girls since they thought we were getting off lightly most of the time. I tried to fly under the radar, but my sister was a natural born tattle-tailer, so she got the brunt of their bullying. I saved her when I could, but if saving her meant that I’d get pinned to the ground and farted on, I let her suffer. I guess that made me an accomplice to their torture.
My sister and I had my Mom – she was “in charge of the girls”. Looking back, I feel bad for my brothers because they didn’t get the “love” we got being under my dad’s rule. But, at the time, I was selfish and grateful that I was a girl and got to answer to my Mom.
Although my Mom was purely loved, she was also a freaking slave driver. Back in those days she worked. And, if it was Summer time, she made a list of chores that had to be done before she got home. And, these weren’t just easy chores, like “wash the dishes” or “take out the trash”. We had to scrub baseboards on our hands and knees …empty kitchen cabinets and scrub the walls inside …wash windows (we had 12-ft ceilings) …wash EVERYONE’S clothes …scrub the restroom down …sweep and mop all the floors …etc. Think Little Orphan Annie in a roach/spider-infested haunted house where the dust never seemed to go away no matter how many times you swiped at it with a dust rag.
Aside from the trauma of my childhood, we did have some good times. A couple of times a month, out of the blue, Dad would say, “everybody get your shoes on!” And, we didn’t dare ask where we’re going, we just did as we were told and jumped into the car to see what adventure he would take us on. Sometimes we’d end up at a State Park …sometimes we’d end up at Malibu Grand Prix (video games, putt-putt and race track) …sometimes we’d go out to eat …sometimes, we’d just drive around all day, munching on beef jerky and sipping on Big Reds.
Nowadays, we love and appreciate each other more. My Dad was replaced with some alien life form that lets small children push him around. He actually HUGS his grandchildren. I’m not sure who this man is or where the hell he was when we were kids, but I’ll take him over the drill sergeant we had growing up. Mom is the same, except now she runs things and makes the big decisions in their household. She gave up organized religion and is “good without god”, so we don’t get blessed when we sneeze anymore, we don’t give a shit. Those blessings were overrated anyway. All her grandkids adore her – as do her children. Us siblings tend to get along a lot better now that we’re adults. My sister and I are very close and talk regularly. She’s one of my biggest fans so I like to bash her in my writing any chance I get. Hey – it’s not my fault her life is what good writing is made of. Or mediocre writing, as the case may be. And, the boys? Well, they are a little distant, but when it comes down to family get-togethers, we’re all there and we all have a great time in each other’s company. We all outgrew the bullying. We’re friends and we know we can count on each other when it’s important. We get together for everyone’s birthday (except Dad’s – because he doesn’t like celebrating), the major holidays, and for many of our children’s milestones and activities. We’re not perfect, but we’re all that we’ve got so make the best of it.