We visited my family over the weekend in Seattle. This was by far the worst/hardest trip I have maybe ever taken. Second only to the trip I took to Seattle and we stayed with my Mom and I was pregnant with M Bug and O.M.G. it was horrible and dozens of visits to California prior to that, of course, all involving my family... Which is why we get a rental car and a hotel when we go there.
First and foremost, I can tell you that before we even leave to see my family I am already anxious. We are not a tight knit loving family. It has never been this way. There are heaps of issues and troubled pasts and mental illness and alcoholism and general discord amongst all of us. I have not talked to my sister in six years. Well besides that unfortunate Facebook exchange a couple of years ago that just reaffirmed that I am doing the right thing about not having her in my life. I barely stay in touch with my bro and Dad. They do not try with me either. My Mom vacillates between communicating too much and just silence. I think she hopes I will call her but dealing with the mood of the hour is just not my thing.
Switching topics but never fear we will return to my family dysfunction. M Bug has been struggling with a number of things since before school ended. The school year was not a joy for anyone so I was hoping summer and camp would change that. Camp is great. He loves it, we love it. That is not the issue.
Mostly the issue has to do with control. Both K and I have been in control of the kids. When I say control, I mean like they were tiny so we had more control, we told them what do and they did it. Of course, that is changing. Now that M Bug is six I am slowly realizing that we need to back off. We cannot dictate his every move the way we used. It is hard to change. It is hard to figure out what I need to do to get him to do things and when. When should I enforce rules and when is he walking all over me. I worry that I will let that happen as much as I worry about making the same stupid mistakes my Mom did. I am terrified to be the same kind of parent that my Mother was... I know M Bug needs a later bedtime and I know I need to let him have more free time. I also know that he likes structure but for me structure means control. SO I need to figure out a different way to provide structure without controlling the situation.
The plan at this point to get back to telling M Bug what is happening before it happens. This helps him out a lot. Also, I am trying to work on giving him more choices. That eases us into letting go of control.
I am still at a lose about to handle his fears. He is fearful of storms mainly right now and not like the normal run of the mill fear, like amped up freaked up OMG terror in his eyes/crying in fear fear. Like every cloud in the sky freaks him out. We have tried everything. It borders on obsessed. I am troubled by this in that I cannot figure out the key to helping get past it. If I just let him talk about it without providing him with any feedback (AKA letting go of controlling the situation) he gets mad at me. If I offer up positive nuggets about the weather, he gets more mad or more scared. If I flat out tell him the truth, he freaks out. Do you see how this spirals out of control? Also, I feel like I am damned if I do, damned if I don't. It is hard. I am trying, K is trying. I am hoping he will grow out of it sooner rather than later and we will just keep trying to do what we can.
Then there is the whole kids fighting in the backseat thing. Lately it has been explosive. Missy pinches, M Bug pinches back. They scream and cry and punch each other. It is really hard. I know it is not abnormal but man they were never like this until recently. And it felt really magnified during this trip. We went with a four door sedan instead of small SUV like we normally get. It sucked. Made for lots of yelling and crying and anger and sadness for all. Live and learn, I suppose. However it carried over to home and so yesterday I had to stop the car on the shoulder of the highway to stop them from fighting and scream some more at them. Then I was mortified. And I was angry at them and myself and the whole situation. I am so embarrassed to admit that.
Back to my family. Let's start with my Mom. Have I talked about her much here? No. I do not think so. I try not to. She is a tough one. She is needy and whiny and she is always so "severely depressed". She has high expectations and we can never meet them. She wants so much from me that I cannot give her. I am busy caring for two little people who need me too. I cannot have my 72 year old mother tripping out on me five minutes after I had to trip out on my own children. I need her to be MY MOTHER and not the other way around. The thing with that statement? She has always wanted me to take care of her. That is why she has bodies piled up behind her of the "friends and family" she has used and kicked to the curb when they failed her. That is why when I meet needly people or whiny people or strange people, I tend to run away from them. Friendships for me are often hard if the person is needy or whiny. I run away from those kinds of people because my whole life I have spent taking care of one person who is consistently like that. 'Splains a lot about me, no?
I felt pulled in so many directions during this trip too. The kids. K. My Mother. My Dad. My Brother. The unresolvable issues.
M Bug was up the first morning at 4:20am and he woke Missy up 15 minutes later. Each morning was like this. It was an exhausting trip due to the time changes. It always is but this time? Even more so for some reason. The kids were tuckered out by 3:30pm each day and were simply melting down. We had to do stuff with them to keep them busy but for instance we went to the Zoo and my Mom came with us. I warned her that we go go go but she did not want to "waste her gas" so she come with us. Than she proceeded to bitch the entire time about her foot and knee and she had to make a point of "I need to pee" (no joke her words not mine) and "WE have to eat NOW". She is a grown woman. If she is hungry than eat. Bring a fucking snack with you, do not eat the snacks I packed for my kids. She brought no money with her and did not thank us for anything, not for getting her ticket or driving OR ANYTHING. If you have to pee, just go. Do not freak out that I did not ask you like I ask my two year old. Than she was pissed that we went and did stuff without her. She said "oh I am up early everyday". TEN IN THE MORNING IS NOT EARLY WHEN MY KIDS ARE UP AT FUCKING QUARTER TO FIVE!!!! To summarize, she wants me take care of her when I am there and I am already being pulled in three other directions so that makes four.
Finally, we go to Seattle to see my family. Not to have a vacation per say. I mean I love Seattle and tripping around that area BUT I plan to see my family first and foremost. If wanted to spend that much money on a vacation I would choose HAWAII. Seriously. That is how much it costs us...
So we went to my brother's business to say hi the first day and literally we were there a full two days before we saw them again and it was such an ordeal to see them even on that third day. All of them at varying points when we were available told us they had other things to do. And when I say that I mean my Mom told me she had laundry to do and she needed to wash the dog and my Dad and brother? They just wanted to get hammered. I would be okay if they were working or had friends to meet up with. That stuff I get, I mean are in their worlds but that stuff? That is weird to me. The kids adore my Dad and Uncle P and even my Mom and yet they do not make the time despite my repeated emails and voicing of the fact that we are there to see THEM. The worst is yet to come.
When I first saw my Dad, I was shocked. I mean this from the bottom of my heart. He is a smoker and a life long alcoholic. I know he will die from one or both of these things. I was not prepared to see him the way he is. He is not even 70 and looks 20 years old. Just seeing him did me in and I was not even aware of until I was sobbing the whole way home on the Fourth of July. It was horrific. My Dad bought all of us tickets to a local baseball game that had fireworks after. Than he and my brother proceeded to drink all afternoon out in the sun at a local bar. My Dad was so drunk he was stumbling around by the time we arrived. At point, he left the stands and came back. I looked over at him at that point and I thought I was going to have call 911 for him. I thought he was going to die right there. He left after the first inning and nearly got pulled over for drunk driving. Not to mention that he SHOULD NOT HAVE DRIVEN HOME but he did endangering how many people??? It was scary and horrific and I died a little inside yet again.
Death by alcohol is gnarly. It is sad. He was such a vibrant lively brilliant man when I was a child. I do not want to have my last memory of him be that he looked like dead man walking and I fear at this time that I will never see him again. He called later and apologized and again by email when we got home. The one thing that I realized as I sit here with tears in my eyes is that I thought I was at peace with his alcoholism and I am not. My heart literally aches to think of life without him even though he has not really participated in my life much over the past decade. I still love him dearly. He protected me from my Mom for many years, he was so intelligent and he pushed me to be more than I thought I could be. It is just such a tragic selfish way to die.
I did some research on late stages of Alcoholism and I fairly certain he is near the end. The things my brother described basically point to Cirrhosis of the liver as well as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome which is also called Wet Brain and is from a lack of Vitamin B (Thiamine) being delivered properly to his body. His liver can no longer process anything and if you recall from basic science or even Anatomy our liver is one of the major organs to process vitamins as well as toxins such as alcohol. It is an efficient organ if it is not messed with. Alcohol messes with it. He is suffering from many of the characteristics of the 2nd disease I mentioned above: he is having trouble seeing, he losses current and past memories, and he runs into things. Eventually he will slip into a coma and die if the 2ndary disease goes untreated and Cirrhosis is essentially a death sentence, it is irreversible. He is missing most of his teeth and the only thing standing between him and the street is the person who enables him the most, my brother, himself an alcoholic.
It is tragic and terrifying and sad. This was the hardest trip I have ever had in my life.