Monday, November 28, 2011

What to do for the holidays?

Image found on Google

Growing up, Summer and Christmas breaks were hard. I know you probably read that and thought, 
"What do you mean hard? You are out of school. It should have been a relief". 
And I have to say that you are completely right. It was a relief to have breaks from school but the transition to and from my parents houses was so stressful. 

The breaks weren't always "stressful". Before I was 10 or 11, my parents got along (at least in front of us). My sisters and I had no idea when there were arguments. We were oblivious. Our Christmases were spent with both parents. Our summers were spent with my father. He traveled a lot and during the summer breaks, my sisters and I would travel with him. No cares in the world. It was OK that mom was still in the States. It was normal. I mean, according to us, our parents relationship was perfect and she DID have to work. Right? 

Then things changed. I remember the day that my father (notice that I say father) told me that they were splitting. My mother wasn't even in the room. He sat us down in the rec room and told us. Alicia was too small to understand but Christina and I were shocked. I mean, we had never seen an argument pass between our parents and were too young to recognize the indications that something was wrong. 

I remember crying hysterically. It felt like my world was over. My perfect little bubble, my comfort zone, was being shattered. Then my mom walked in to start picking up in the rec room. I remember her face. She did not say anything and looked so angry. I asked her if it was true and she just gave me a look. 

I should have known that the following years were going to be hard. We lived with my mother and summer breaks remained the same. We continued to spend them with my father. No difference. BUT Christmas breaks were different. We split every Christmas break into two parts. We would spend Christmas with my father and spend New Years with my mother. Then, the next year, we would spend Christmas with my mother and New Years with my father. 

I loved the fact that we could still see my father, but I don't know if they realized the "psychological" toll it took on my sisters and I. If we showed any excitement about going to my fathers (like packing early), it would hurt my mother. If we talked about my father in front of my mother or asked if we could talk to our father on the phone, the mood would change. My father was different. I think it is because he was not the one that was hurt in the divorce. He would constantly tell us how great my mother was. But, it was still hard and awkward when we would ask to call my mother on trips. There was such an awkward barrier between them and my sisters and I were caught in the middle. 

We also had to prepare ourselves for the difference in life style. My father started dating and cohabitating with his current wife (Mari...for the purposes of this blog). Thus, when we visited him, we were also  expected to "hang out with" her. I was mostly OK with the situation, but my sisters were not. I think they felt that the were betraying our mother if they accepted Mari. I understand their hesitation. My mother was not the best person to be around when Mari was mentioned. 

I honestly liked (and still like) Mari. She was so nice to me and I was able to open up to her in ways that I could not open up to my mom or my dad. She was like a friend; a much older friend. But her relationship with my sisters was different. I think it stems from our personalities. Mari is extremely easy going and has a flighty personality. I am similar.

But my sisters are not. I can honestly say that I have the weakest personality compared to my sisters. Alicia and Christina are extremely outspoken. If they do not like you, they will make it apparent. Christina will do it physically (not necessarily with violence, but with  non-verbal cues and gestures) and only be verbal when she is fed up. But Alicia is a force to be reckoned with. She is scary! I mean, she will tell you exactly what she is thinking and she does not care how it makes you feel.

So, my sisters made it clear that they were not Mari's fans and their relationship with Mari was not as good solid harmonious as mine. It is interesting to look back at our relationship dynamics with Mari and dad. Every summer it would change. at the beginning of the summer, my sisters relationships with Mari would always be at some degree of dislike and would grow in strength by the end of the summer. But my relationship would always start with a degree of like at the beginning of the summer. It would never get to "hatred" but would be at some level of annoyance by the end of the summer. 

It has to be because we were all females. (HA HA... I know there are a few of you out Colon...that chuckled). Subconsciously, my sisters and I were probably bothered because we saw Mari as our mother's replacement. No matter how many times we tell ourselves that is not true, I know it is. It was all fun and games when Mari was our "friend" but when she tried to use some authority, it was not accepted. Our perception of her would then turn for the worst. To make the situation worse, the players in this situation were all female. 

Anyways, this went on until I was 18 and heading off to college. My sisters still HAD to do the back and forth routine, but I could choose. I was in college. But, I took the easy way out and continue with the Christmas holiday routine. How was I going to choose? I mean, either way, I would hurt one of my parents. 

The thing is, my sisters were still trapped. Remember how I said that they were not fans of Mari? Well, when I choose to continue the routine, I switched up the order. Thus, I was at my mothers while they were at my fathers. I used to be a buffer and a shield between them. Now, they did not have that. I would constantly receive calls from them about the situation. There were so many "unfair" situations in the house. My sisters would get away with doing things when others wouldn't and vice versa.

I felt bad for my dad. He had to live with the fact that his daughters were not fans of his wife. He loved all the people involved. How was he to choose? He is in such a bad situation and I know it is taking a toll on him. He is such a good man and tries to do right by everyone and this is the hand that he is dealt. It bothers me so much. 

I try to avoid linking this whole situation back to the nasty divorce but it is hard for me to push that out of my brain. I think, my sisters and I still blame our parents for everything that we have been through. But, this is wrong.

The divorce pushed each of us into a different path with so many various situations, but that's all it did. 

Each of us chose how we would deal with each situation. 

I know this and I know that I will have to constantly tell myself this. I just hope that my sisters and I can come to a point where we don't have to constantly remind ourselves of this. 

Seeing how the effects of this divorce have trickled down through the years has scared me away from a commitment with Colon. I always thought that my parents would stay together. I always believed that marriage means forever and my parents shattered that dream for me. They showed me that I am not shielded from divorce and that it can happen to me. 

That scares the shit out of me. 

It really does. Colon is the man I want to be with. I see the difference between our relationship and the relationship between my parents. We are so much more connected and the love between us is apparent. 

BUT, what happens if we take the next step (AKA marriage) and it does not work out?

My parents have showed me that marriage isn't forever. So, why should it be for us?

What happens if we have kids and we do get divorced? How could I put my kids through that? 

So many questions, and as I think of them... do you know what they are doing to me?


But, I have to take things a step at a time. I have to remember that Colon and I are different from my parents. Our relationship is different from my parents' relationship. It is so much stronger. AND because of this strength, it will last. We just have to work at it and put our trust in God. 

As I wrote that last paragraph, I started to think of Mr. Monk. there is an episode where the trash collectors strike and he goes crazy. It gets to the point where he goes outside and proceeds to pick up the trash bags himself. As he is doing this, he starts to chant 

" One bag at a time"

or something to that effect. 

I think I will start chanting "One step at a time" from now on. Maybe it will help.

Anyways, with the new year coming up, I need to start adding things to my New Years Resolution list. I think this post has a couple of things that I could add to the list. 

***I could really use feedback on all of the things mentioned in this post. I am sorry if some of it seems childish. I just needed an outlet. 

1 comment:

  1. If your mind is focused in failure, and then it is not focused on succeeding. Don't live in fear of the worst outcome ; work toward ensuring the better end. Not trying is a fate worse than failure


I love comments and definitely enjoy reading them. Please be kind! :)