Day 03 Your Parents

Mama please stop cryin'

I can't stand the sound

Your pain is painful and it's

Tearing me down

I love my parents. I love them for their strength, their no nonsense personalities, for supporting me despite my faults and mistakes and for their faults, trials and tribulations. I could not be the person I am today; both good and bad, if not for my parents. 

They are not perfect, far far from it. Our relationship has always been strained. I was a stubborn and obstinate child, much like my own daughter. 

My parents struggled with their own demons. Many in the form of their addictions and others in the passionate creatures they are. I don't come from my dramatic flair by accident. My parents are passionate and at times dramatic people.

But they've taught me so much. I can say without hesitation that even now at the age of 28 that I have never used drugs. I saw the destruction drugs have wrought on my parents and my life. I've seen how drugs and alcohol can destroy a person. I've seen what they do to families and how they can ruin dreams.

My father has always been rough around the edges. But I never doubted he loved me. I was a daddy's girl from earlier on. One of my earliest memories involve riding with my father in his truck on a trip somewhere. And another standing on my parents' bed as a very young child as they screamed and fought in front of me...over me.

I hurt myself today 

To see if I still feel 
I focus on the pain 
The only thing that's real 
The needle tears a hole 
The old familiar sting 
Try to kill it all away 
But I remember, everything

I always felt safe with my father as a child. So when my parents divorced, I chose to live with my father. It was shortly after I officially moved in with my father that I realized that he was a drug addict. I was doing laundry when I found the first syringe. I knew my father wasn't a diabetic and I knew that he wasn't on prescription medication. I was naive in many ways, but I quickly learned to identify drug behavior. When he woke me in the middle of the night on a school night to come look at the huge bugs in his room....When I sat there at 3 am, on the floor with my father who had always been a hero to me crawling around staring at the bare floors yelling at me about the bugs he saw and felt... I knew he was in a bad place. The day he slept under his bed and I had to cover for him when his boss came looking for him, I knew he wasn't what I thought he was. One day, after we had moved yet again, he woke me up screaming about the cameras he claimed my mother and his bosses had installed in the house to spy on him. When I was 17, and pregnant with Matthew, he turned his bedroom into a meth lab.

What have I become 
My sweetest friend 
Everyone I know,
goes away 
In the end 
And you could have it all 
My empire of dirt 
I will let you down 
I will make you hurt

But for all his faults and all his struggles. Deep down, he's a brilliant man. He has so much to offer the world. If only he could believe in and love himself. He's capable of being hard working and loving and exciting. He loves fiercely and when he is well, he would do anything for his children. He's not afraid to show his emotions. He gave me a love for Aerosmith and Johnny Cash, he never treated me like a child and he showed me that its not a bad thing for a man to show his emotions. He never demeaned me and he never made me feel less of a person. He supported all the decisions I made in my life. Even if he didn't agree with them, even he thought privately I was destroying my life. He always supported me when he could. I still talk to him on occasion. But we're not as close as we once were and I don't know if we ever will be. I know he wants to be, but I've not yet gotten to a point where I am ready to welcome him back into my life completely.  I hate seeing him in pain. I hated seeing him destroy himself. After the adoption, I was in such a raw emotional state for so many years that it was difficult to have anyone around me 

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side
So I don't get hurt
My mother and I are not close. We never have been. I always felt like I should have been a boy and that she would have been happier with me if I had. But as I grew up I realized that a lot of our issues was based on the fact she didn't know how to interact with me and because she had a strained relationship with her own mother. I don't remember much when we were not bickering. This was something I've always regretted. I have many friends that have awesome relationships with their mothers. I see people talking about how they went shopping and for pedicures with their moms. How their moms came over and helped them out with the kids during deployment or just for the hell of it. I want that. I want a mother who will not judge me. Who will treat me like an adult and love me. Who wants to do things together and who won't leave me stressed and in tears when we talk. We have gotten slowly better. But its a slow, painful growth. 
My biggest fear in life, is losing her and having regrets. Not learning more about her past and her family, knowing there is unfinished business there. 
I will not make the same mistakes that you did

 I Will not let myself cause my heart so much misery

I will not break the way you did

 You fell so hard

 I've learned the hard way, 
 to never let it get that far 

It is no secret my mother was an alcoholic. She struggled with alcohol for so long and it cost her so much in life. But in her destructive behavior, I learned one of the greatest lessons she's ever taught me. To not let something control my life and make me slave to my addictions. 
Alcohol is such a part of life in so many social settings. Its an odd event that doesn't involve alcohol in some form. I've struggled with alcohol in the fact that I am in many ways afraid of it. The smell of Coors takes me back to a time in my childhood and formative years that I don't want to visit again. I do drink on occasion but I always feel insanely guilty afterwards. What if, after having a glass or 2 of wine, Sami becomes ill and needs to go to the Emergency Room? What if my mother finds out? Seriously, Christina? You are 28 years old and have been on your own for a decade. You are of legal age to purchase and consume alcohol and you are doing it responsibly. I do not drink and drive. I do not drink to a point I am not in complete control of my actions. So why am I so afraid of what my mother will think? Because I worry that she will feel as if she has failed in teaching me about alcohol. I know that there is a way to responsibly drink. There is a fine line between social drinking and when its a problem. A couple of weeks ago at an event, there was beer. It wasn't a drunken party, it was just a passing "Hey Christina, there is beer in the fridge if you want one" yet I couldn't do it. 
Partly is because of my Celiac disease. Beer seems to aggravate it more than anything and I end up in pain for days after drinking a beer. Even more pain if I drink more than one. So at least there is that!
But that is another post all together.
My mother and I are so alike in so many ways. We have both struggled with teen pregnancies, and while we chose drastically different paths, it is something she never wanted for me and something that could have cemented our relationship or nearly destroyed it. 

I lose my way

And it's not too long before you point it out

I cannot cry
 Because I know that's weakness in your eyes

 I'm forced to fake, a smile, a laugh

 Every day of my life

 My heart can't possibly break

 When it wasn't even whole to start with 

No, I've not faked much in the last few years, but the thought has crossed my mind. There has been many times that I was struggling and all I wanted was a hug and someone to say its going to be all right. That while its a tough bump in the road, I will get over it. I don't need my mistakes being pointed out over and over again. I am hard enough on myself to know every single mistake that I've made and then some. If I haven't pointed it out to myself, I have "friends" that are none to shy about rubbing my face in my mistakes. 
Many years ago, Matt and I became pregnant on our wedding night. It was something that we both wanted. Something we were both enthusiastically excited about. Matt was over the moon when we got the first positive test and his excitement and happiness grew as the pregnancy progressed. Even my mother was excited. She sent baby blankets, receiving blankets. She was genuinely thrilled for us. 
I lost the baby well into my 2nd trimester. My mother was caring and I could tell the loss hit her hard. 
A few months later, we became pregnant again. She was hesitant, afraid to get her hopes up in case I lost another baby. And our fears were confirmed when, during one of our appointments, Dr Bass was unable to locate the heartbeat. 
She did the best thing in the world she could do. She flew to be with me. She took care of me while I recovered physically. One night, while watching tv I broke down. She laid down on the floor of my apartment and held me while I cried. Later that night, Matt hugged and kissed me and said that while he wished he could take away all of the pain I was feeling, he was glad that my mother was there because this was a pain only a mother would understand. 
Crying in front of my mother has always been difficult. Because it makes me feel like such a weak person and such a failure. While I know that isn't what she wants. Its a hard feeling to overcome. But something I am working on. 
Yes, my mother has faults. A lot of them. And I've outlined just a few here. But she has such amazing strength. She's dealt with 3 kids who are so extremely stubborn and extremely selfish at times. Her own demons and struggles and the loss of her mother. Whom I think she regretted losing before she could come to a point where she was at complete peace with. We always lose those we have unfinished business with before we want.
The greatest gift my mother has ever given me was her sobriety. December 2000 was the rebirth of a woman that has so much potential in life and so much love and wisdom to give. I just wish I was at a place where I can completely open my heart to her again. 
We can never get my childhood back. Those years are gone and those scars will forever remain. But we have, I pray, many many years ahead of us. One day, we might not have the perfect relationship I want, but we can have something of it. 
I have always been a dreamer. I've always wanted the fairy tale and I will always want the fairytale mother-daughter relationship. I want her to be the nagging mother that asks when we're going to have a baby. Even if that baby is never going to happen. I want the shopping trips and vacations and days at the spa you see on television and I see so many of my friends have. I want the holidays with grandma and baking cookies with grandma. I want the fairytale. But I'll settle for a warmth and understanding. We cannot dictate or control each others lives. But we can figure out our place in it and learn to love and respect each other for the lessons we've learned, the trials we've experienced and the beautifulness of each others souls. So much like the other, yet so drastically different. 

18 years had come and gone 
For momma they flew by 
But for me they drug on and on
We were loading up that Chevy 
Both tryin' not to cry 
Momma kept on talking 
Putting off good-bye 
Then she took my hand and said 
"Baby don't forget:
Before you hit the highway 
You better stop for gas 
And there's a 50 in the ashtray 
In case you run short on cash 
Here's a map and here's a Bible 
If you ever lose your way 
Just one more thing before you leave 
Don't forget to remember me"
I've had a step father for more than half my life. While he hasn't been married to my mother that long, he's been a steady force in my life that long. 
I never gave him the chance he deserved. Not because I wanted my parents back together, but because I was afraid that he would leave me as easily as it felt my parents did. How can you get close to a person you are afraid will disappear as quickly as they came in to your life?
I was also insanely jealous. I have never felt like an important part of my mothers life. While he was from day one. I wanted to be so much more to my mother. I felt like he was more important. Perhaps he was, I am starting to think he wasn't I was just too selfish and broken to see it myself. 
Yet he stuck by my mother and helped her get to the point she is at today. He is gentle where she is stormy. He is strong where she is weak, and he is shy where she is gregarious. I've never met a more perfect couple. They are perfect in their symmetry. Perfect in their faults and strengths. He has his faults and he has his past mistakes. But I have no doubt he absolutely adores my mother. He loves her for her vivacious nature and for her hard exterior. He knows how to get past that exterior into the soft loving person she is on the inside. He can calm her with a word and he can love her despite and because of her flaws. 
He's always been there for me even if he doesn't realize it. I remember seeing him holding Brandon and seeing how much love there was there. For a child he had no biological ties to. Sami adores him and she's not spent a great deal of time with him. I've learned that if Sami loves a person, then there is so much undiscovered good there. 
He has struggled with his health and part of that is what has made me hold him at a distance. I've lost so many people in my life. I didn't want to get attached to someone else and lose them. 
One of my happiest memories was when he took me to a fair that had been set up in the mall parking lot he was patient and understanding and he made me feel like I was special.
That day he gave me a stuffed mouse in velvet clothes. It was one of my most prized gifts. It made me realize that he didn't just love my mother. He loved me, too.
It took seeing other men love Sami as their own child for me to realize how much you can love a child you have no ties to. Sometimes the love of a step parent for their step child is greater than that of a biological child. Because a step parent chooses to be in that child's life. Because it is so difficult to raise another man's child as your own.
And then all of a sudden 
Oh, it seemed so strange to me 
How we went from something's missing 
To a family 
Lookin' back all I can say 
About all the things he did for me 
Is I hope I'm at least half the dad 
That he didn't have to be 
I have been blessed with many people that have taken on parental roles and I intend to express it to them in one way or the other Danny and Dona while they no longer speak to me, will always feel like the parents God forgot to give me. And they may never know that. I hate having not lived up to their standards. I hate disappointing them. But I love what they are and what they've done. They were there for me
Katy's mom, Becky, is another woman that has loved me despite of myself. And someone I am blessed to have in my life. Even if I've never showed it. Thank you. For everything you've done. I love you more than I can say. 
Rebecca, I've never met you in person. But you are one of the only Miller family members (even if you are no longer a Miller) to make me feel welcomed and loved and not judged. I am so happy that you are there for us. 
Lori~ You were there when I was in such a painful state. When I needed a mother more than anything. When I was struggling with so much you were there to always give me sound advice and to let me know I was not a horrible person. You made me feel beautiful and happy on a prom when I could have felt absolutely wretched. 
Kathy~ I could easily be  the person you hate the most because of all of the pain I caused your son and your family. But you gave me love when all I wanted was to have someone understand and to not judge me. You could have easily written me and Brian off for the mistakes me made. But you were loving and accepting when we made our choices. You never judged and you never made me doubt my choices. I will forever be indebted to your kindness when Brian and I were in such a tough point in our lives. I needed a mother more than anything then and you were  there to help us when you had so much going on in your own life. We didn't help adding stress but you took it all in stride. 
Come stop your crying
It will be all right
Just take my hand Hold it tight 
I will protect you
from all around you
I will be here
Don't you cry 
For one so small,
you seem so strong
My arms will hold you,
keep you safe and warm
This bond between us
Can't be broken
I will be here
Don't you cry 
'Cause you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more 

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